By: Travis Maurer
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – One man is in custody and another is on the run for their role in the deadly shooting of a Gwinnett County police officer Saturday afternoon at a Snellville-area middle school.
The cold-blooded shooting of 30-year-old Officer Antwan Toney prompted a massive multijurisdictional manhunt within minutes and well into the overnight hours. Police said just after midnight Sunday morning they were searching for a man named Tafahree Maynard.
t started just after 2:30 p.m. when the Gwinnett County Dispatch Center received an anonymous phone call to 911 stating there was a car parked in the area of Crumps Landing Road and White Road, just behind Shiloh Middle School. The caller believed the people inside were smoking marijuana.
Two officers, driving in separate patrol cars, pulled up to the suspicious vehicle and parked their cars. Moments after the officers stepped out, a series of shots were fired at them through the glass of the suspicious car.
Officer Toney was hit. Police said the bullet missed his vest and struck him directly. He was rushed to Gwinnett County Medical Center in Lawrenceville where he died.
In the chaos, the second officer, whose name has not yet been released, returned fire and was able to safely pull Officer Toney from the line of fire. That second officer did not receive any significant injuries.
Police said the man behind the wheel and behind the trigger was 18-year-old Tafahree Maynard, of Snellville. Maynard drove the car away from the school. Police said he ended up crashing about a mile from the school into the decorative median at the entrance to a neighborhood located along Ross Road at Calumet Farm Lane. Officers were not in active pursuit of the vehicle at the time, according to police. Witnesses told police four people jumped out of the car and ran.
A massive manhunt was launched for the shooter. Several nearby neighborhoods were placed on virtual lockdown and police officers raced up and down streets, saturating the area with both patrol and specialized tactical teams. Police said they also search using aerial surveillance.
Tips poured in from around the area. Police said they worked to clear most of those in the search area through the command post they set up near the shooting scene. The SWAT team, K-9 team, and other specialized units checked out those tips, cleared nearby buildings and scoured the woods where the four suspects could be hiding. Within hours, police had set up a specialized tip line for people to call in their information.
About a half hour after the deadly shooting, police found someone. Police said 19-year-old Isaiah Pretlow, of Snellville, pointed a gun at an officer who was actively searching the area. Police said the officer fired at Pretlow, but he was not wounded. He fled into a wooded area and was not seen again until 11:30 p.m. when the U.S. Marshal’s Office caught up with him and took him into custody. Police were able to initially put out Pretlow’s description based on his encounter with the officer.
Police did not go into details about Pretlow’s arrest, how they were able to find him, identify him, or take him into custody. Investigators also were tight-lipped on how they were able to name Maynard as a suspect.
Investigators did, however, indicate both had prior records. According to the Gwinnett County Clerk of Court’s website, Maynard was arrested in January for theft and marijuana possession and Pretlow was arrested in May for burglary. Both court cases were still working their way through the legal process.
Maynard is described by police as being 6’1” tall and weighing about 290 pounds. Police consider him armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach but call 911 immediately. Anyone with information on his whereabouts or further information about the case should call the special Gwinnett County tip line at 770-513-5710.