Alleged shooter sought
• Officers are looking for Jerry Gene
Kemp Jr., 28, in connection to the
shooting of a Wrens man last weekend
By Parish Howard
As of Tuesday, Wrens Police
Officers and the Jefferson County
Sheriff's Office were still looking
for a convicted felon that witnesses
say shot a Wrens man Saturday afternoon.
"This is an on-going investigation
and we still don't have all of the details,"
said Wrens Police Chief David
"We still aren't sure about
the motive for the shooting. The victim
was going into surgery the last
time I spoke with him, but I believe
he is doing OK now and we plan to
get more of his side of what happened
later today or tomorrow."
According to Chief Hannah, witnesses
claimed that Jerry Gene Kemp
Jr., 28, and Henry Lewis Smith, 28,
both of Wrens, were in some sort
of argument at the home of Smith's
brother in the 300 block of Highway
102 around 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
"I believe they were arguing
through the back screened door,"
Chief Hannah said. "According to
witnesses, when Smith saw Kemp
pull a weapon he slammed the door.
Kemp then allegedly fired through
the door, hitting Smith somewhere
in the abdomen."
According to the Sheriff's Office,
Smith was transported by ambulance
to the Medical College of Georgia
Trauma Center where he was listed
in stable condition.
There is the possibility that Kemp
could still be in the area, Hannah
said. Law enforcement considers
him armed, the chief added.
Kemp is wanted on charges of
aggravated assault, possession of a
weapon during the commission of a
crime and possession of a firearm by
a convicted felon. Investigators are
asking anyone with any information
on his whereabouts to contact Chief
Hannah at (706) 547-3000 or the
Sheriff's Office at (478) 625-7538 or
their local law enforcement agency.
will take over
• Interim Mayor
Ricky Sapp and
By Faye Ellison
Two candidates qualified last
week to run for Louisville’s mayor
seat. Jefferson Hospital Administrator
Rita Culvern and Louisville’s Interim
Mayor Ricky Sapp both qualified by
deadline on Thursday to run for the
On Monday, Sapp withdrew his
candidacy to run for mayor.
will now be the city of Louisville’s
new mayor. Not only is it a major
stepping stone for Culvern, but also
for the city, since she will be the first
woman mayor in the city’s history.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,”
Culvern said Tuesday. “I have
served the people of Jefferson County
working with the hospital for 35 years
and being the hospital administrator
for 15 years. This is another opportunity
to serve the community that I
love and I am really looking forward
“I understand that there are a lot of
exciting plans in place for the growth
of Louisville and I want to be a part
Culvern said the anticipated date
for her retirement at Jefferson Hospital
will be April 30. Culvern has
made Jefferson Hospital one of the
few rural hospitals that operate in the
black each year and has implemented
many programs including a partnership
with the Medical College of
Georgia to serve the needs of people
in Jefferson County.
Sapp had served as the interim
mayor for the past four months.
Before serving in that capacity, Sapp
served on the Louisville City Council
for 15 years.
Sapp’s seat on the council was
left vacant after he had to give it up
to run for mayor. Sapp said that the
qualifying for the council seat will be
held next week and the election for
the seat will also be held on March
20, the same day as the mayor’s race
would have been held.
“I qualified to run for mayor in order
to make sure we had a qualified
candidate on the ballot,” Sapp said.
“Mrs. Culvern is qualified and has
the time and experience to do a good
job as mayor. I have all the faith that
Mrs. Culvern will be a mayor we can
all be proud of.”
In an interview Monday, after qualifications
results were announced,
Sapp cited Culvern’s interest in the
seat and his family as reasons he
“I have a young family and I also have many other commitments,” Sapp said. “Time would be an issue for me. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice time with my kids while they are growing up.”
Sapp said he hopes that Culvern and other council members will be able to continue to have a dedicated and united council.
Culvern will be the first mayor to reside over the city after the death of Byron Burt. Burt served as mayor in Louisville for several years, before succumbing to what doctors believed was a heart attack last year.
Louisville City Administrator Don Rhodes said since Sapp has withdrawn from the mayoral race, there is no opposition and no need for a special election March 20 between him and Culvern.
However the election for Sapp's vacated council seat will be held depending on who qualifies for that at-large seat next week. Rhodes said that qualifying will be held Monday beginning at 8:30 a.m. until Wednesday ending at 4:30 p.m.
Both the city council term and the mayor’s term will begin the day after the election is held, Rhodes said. If there is a need for the special election, Rhodes said voting will be held at city hall.
The mayor’s seat and the council’s seat will not come up in the election again until 2009.
Louisville Villas catches fire
• Eight apartments damaged
By Faye Ellison
Some Louisville residents were left out in the cold
after their homes went up in smoke in an early morning
fire that sent three to the emergency room.
One of the Louisville Villas’ apartment buildings,
owned by W.T. Lamb Investments, was heavily damaged
early Tuesday after a fire broke out in Building
The Louisville Assistant Fire Chief Chester Johnson
said all of the eight apartments in the complex
were heavily damaged, more so on the top floor than
on the bottom.
This page has been accessed times.
According to the report filed by the Louisville
Fire Department, 911 received a call from Mildred
Washington around 1:55 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, that
the Building C of the Louisville Villas was engulfed
When members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s
Department arrived, some residents were still inside
the building. According to the Louisville Fire Department,
deputies assisted in the rescue of the residents
who remained inside by exiting either the main entrance
or breaking windows to get them to safety.
Johnson said that the Louisville Fire Department arrived on the scene at 2 a.m. and had the fire under control around 2:30 a.m.
Three residents were taken to Jefferson Hospital, two because of smoke inhalation and one had a puncture wound to the foot from stepping on a nail, Johnson said. As of press time, it was unclear which residents had to be transported to Jefferson Hospital.
Those assisting Louisville Fire Department included Louisville Officers Matt Sadoon and John Manning, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies Chip Evans, Tim Moore and Gary McCord and the Hillcrest Fire Department.
Of the eight apartments in the building, only seven were being occupied at the time. Those leasing apartments at the time are Dianna Stone, Gladis Bostic, Shirley Whitfield, Avis Robinson, Sarah Lindner, Janice Farmer and Tony Stone.
Johnson said the fire is still under investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Georgia Insurance and Fire Commissioner Arson Investigation Office.