NWGA Scanner | March 30th, 2021
According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, on March 11th, 2021, at around 2:40 AM, Officer Forrister and Sgt. Holbrook was sitting in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggley located on Martha Berry Highway in the Armuchee community when they heard several loud banging noises that they believed to be gunshots. While searching the area officers observed a Nissan Altima traveling southbound past them on Old Summerville Road. The vehicle then pulled into the Oak Villa Apartments. While pulling behind the vehicle Sgt. Holbrook saw a black male later identified as Mekel Harper, 27, of Rome, get out of the vehicle and run away while holding a rifle in his hands. Officer Forrister then observed Mekel walking across the parking lot from the dumpster that is in the rear of the apartment complex. Mekel was placed into handcuffs without incident. While speaking with Mekel, he was asked by officers if he had been drinking due to his slurred speech and an alcohol smell coming from Mekels person. Mekel advised he had a couple of shots that he later advised was moonshine. Mekel was read Miranda warning by Sgt. Holbrook and advised that he did not want to answer any questions. Sgt. Ward and Officer Puckett arrived and helped search for the rifle. Shortly after Officer Puckett advised over the radio, he found an AK-style rifle. Mekel began to swear when he heard the rifle had been found. Mekel then began to make statements about how the rifle was not an AK and began to describe the technicalities of the rifle. He also made statements about having a receipt from where he had purchased the rifle. Mekel was placed under arrest and transported to the Floyd County Jail. While en route to the Jail, an officer noticed Shell casings in the eastbound lane on Stonebridge. Officers did collect 21 Shell casings that were the same type of ammunition that had been found in the rifle. Mekel agreed to Georgia Implied Consent for blood. Mekel was then transported to Floyd Medical Center for a GBI blood kit to be performed. While on scene at the hospital, Mekel told his cousin who did his blood draw that he had been hanging with multiple people shooting guns, but he had been the only one who got caught. Mekel was charged with discharging a firearm near a public highway, discharging a firearm under the influence of alcohol, reckless conduct, tampering with evidence, DUI, and two counts of obstruction.