NWGA Scanner | August 30th, 2022

Fort Oglethorpe officer checking on suspicious vehicle finds wanted felon in possession of loaded gun, and drugs

According to a Fort Oglethorpe Police Department incident report, On August 14th, 2022, at 3:00, Officer Wong was patrolling eastbound on Cloud Springs Road. Officer Wong reported, “[I] observed a 2003 BMW 325I passing me westbound at a slow rate of speed, and then pull over in front of a gated property across the street from the Sunset Market. [I] pulled over at the Sunset Market and observed further. After sitting in front of the locked gate for a few moments and never exiting the vehicle, the driver put his hazards on and began traveling westbound again. I proceeded behind it to observe further. The vehicle crossed over the double yellow center line while coming over a blind hill. The vehicle then pulled into a lot of the First United Pentecostal Church.” The officer then made contact with the driver, later identified as Zachery Duane Russell, 30, of Flowery Branch, Georgia. Russell advised the officer that he was experiencing car trouble. Officer Wong reported, “[I] observed several body language indicators of nervous behavior in Russell: his hands and body movements were extremely shaky, he was sweating profusely, he had trouble maintaining eye contact as he spoke, and Russell was extremely talkative in his responses to basic questions. Based on my training, knowledge, and experience, [I] found Russe’s behavior to be suspicious, especially combined with his driving behavior. At first, Russell said that he did not have his driver’s license on him but provided a name and date of birth for Samuel Burson, 10/28/1991. Russell wrote this name and birthday himself on my notepad; when he wrote it, he wrote “Samuel Daniel Burson the 3rd”, and he did not provide the day when he wrote it. [I] asked Russell what the last name was, and he said “the 3rd'”. [I] told him that [I] doubted the actual last name was “the 3rd”.” Catoosa dispatch advised that Burson’s license was expired. Lt. Godiard arrived on the scene to assist officer Wong. Russell was asked to exit the vehicle based on the information that he was driving with no valid license. Russell stated, “just go ahead and put me in handcuffs,” while placing his hands outside the vehicle. Officer Wong then located a baggie of meth inside the door panel. Officers also located a loaded 9mm Ruger handgun and another black baggie with meth, Ecstasy, and Oxycodone. Russell then spontaneously uttered that he wanted to make a confession and that he lied about his name and gave officers his real information. Russell was confirmed to have a suspended license and a warrant out of Cleveland, TN. In the truck of the vehicle, Officer Wong located his driver’s license and paperwork regarding a bond order from Hall County related to an aggravated assault and felony murder case, which also contained his information. A check of Russell’s criminal history confirmed he was a convicted felon with a conviction date of July 17th, 2008. Russell admitted to using meth before driving as well. Russell refused to answer any further questions and refused implied consent. Jail Officer Padilla located a large number of Ecstasy pills shoved inside his rectum. Russell was booked into the Catoosa County Jail, charged with a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, failure to maintain lane, DUI – driving under the influence of drugs – less safe, possession of firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies, possession of drug-related objects, driving while license suspended, giving a false name, address/dob to officers, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. According to court records, On Jan. 26th, 2022, a grand jury declined to indict Russell, another man, with the felony murder of a Gainesville man’s 2020 death but instead indicted them on aggravated assault and battery, according to court documents. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said McMurray was found unresponsive in his Old Athens Road home after a fight with the two men. Russell is currently being held in the Catoosa County Jail, on a $31,500 bond.