A senseless shooting Sunday not only rocked the Rockdale community, but also affected Newton County citizens as well.
Covington resident, 39-year-old Otonicar Jimquez Aiken, was inside the Magnet Package Shop when violence erupted, and suffered fatal wounds from a gunshot by 36-year-old Jeffrey Pitts of Rockdale.
Aiken was a husband and father of three, with a 2 year old, 8 year old and 15 year old. He was inside the store on Bell Road when Pitts walked in wielding a gun shot at the store’s owner Mun “Moon” Cha and Aiken.
Darrell Stodghill, Aiken's father, says that Aiken was only making a quick trip to the liquor store.
"What makes it (even worse), yesterday was his son's (eighth) birthday," said Stodghill. "Cooking on the grill, he said, ‘I'll be right back.'"
After Pitts started shooting in the liquor store, another customer, Todd Scott of Newton County, fought back, potentially stopping Pitts from shooting even more people.
Pitts then went to his 3535 Ebenezer Road residence and shot his mother in the arm and father in the head. He was then killed in a shootout when he fired at deputies with an AR-15 assault rifle, according to the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.
Several neighbors who live along the 3500 block of Ebenezer Road were surprised when they heard two of the shooting victims were an elderly couple who lived on the street.
Pitts' parents, 63-year-old Alan and 64-year-old Judith, moved into their 3535 Ebenezer Road residence in 1986, where they have lived since.
None of the neighbors wanted their identities revealed, but a neighbor who was inside their residence at the time of the shootout, told The News the couple didn't deserve to be shot.
"They were good people," the neighbor said.
Life in high school
Pitts was a member of the Heritage High School graduating class of 1997.
Rockdale County resident Don Pollard was a member of the same class. He vaguely remembers Pitts.
"I don't remember him all that well," he said. "It's been almost 20 years."
However, he was able to recall a few details about Pitts, like Pitts having a hearing impairment.
"He had to wear two really large hearing aids," said Pollard. "It was the first time I saw someone my age wearing hearing aids."
He described Pitts as "pretty reserved" and meek. But, in Pitts' senior year, he seemed to open up a little bit more to people.
"He was pretty quiet," Pollard said." He wasn't very popular but seemed to grow into his own. He seemed to have more friends by senior year."
Like most people who saw and heard about the events that transpired Sunday, Pollard was stunned when he heard about what happened, but even more so when he saw it was a former classmate.
"When I saw the picture (of Jeffrey Pitts) in the news I recognized him. I was pretty shocked," he said. "We've never had that kind of incident with any other classmate."
Run-ins with the law
Pitts had no criminal history with the RCSO. His only brush with the law in this area came in November 2010.
The Newton County Sheriff's Office (NCSO) arrested him for driving under the influence and being in possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. He received a fine, community service and 12 months of probation the offense.
The RCSO does have four incidents that involve Pitts, but none of them are for criminal activity. However, these reports do shed some light into the mind of Pitts, who may have been dealing with some kind of mental illness for some time.
According to the RCSO, they have yet to determine if Pitts suffered from a mental illness.
However, on the 911 call Sunday, Pitts' father told operators that his son was mentally ill and had shot him in the head.
In a report from April 17, 2004, two days after Pitts turned 25, a female victim reported Pitts making harassing phone calls to her for several weeks.
"She stated (Jeffrey) keeps calling, confessing his love for her and he attempts to get her to confess her love for him," Deputy Michelle Haywood wrote in the report.
Rodgers claimed that a year ago she spoke to Pitts at a bar for about five minutes by way of her boyfriend, who knew Pitts from them attending high school together.
Shortly after that encounter, Pitts started calling her. Rodgers claimed to have never given Pitts her number, but Pitts told her that she did.
Pitts also told Rodgers that he knows where she lives as well.
"Rogers stated, she has asked Pitts not to call her and that she was not interested in him," wrote Haywood. "Rogers stated, Pitts continues to call her and now she fears him."
Exactly two years later, on April 17, 2006, Pitts called deputies to his residence to report suspicious activity occurring at his residence at 3535 Ebenezer Road.
Pitts told Deputy Julie Cooley that he believes someone has been coming in the residence, which was shared by Pitts' parents and brother, and taking things. On another occasion, Pitts said he found women's underwear on his dresser,heard knocking on windows at night and gunshots.
There were no signs of forced entry,
"Jeffrey believes someone has gotten a key, but he (couldn't) advise how they might have obtained it," Cooley wrote.
Pitts also believed one of his neighbors had gotten someone at the power department to cut the wires to the house alarm system so that it doesn't go off when he comes in.
Cooley then spoke with Pitts' father, Alan, on the phone.
"He stated that Jeffrey has ‘issues' and this is not the first time he's displayed paranoid behavior," wrote Cooley.
On Pitts' birthday four years ago, a deputy was called to his residence again. This time the call came from a "third-party caller" who stated the resident at this location sounded upset.
When Deputy Christopher Lee arrived at the scene, he found Pitts sitting in his Jeep in his boxer shorts.
"I attempted to make contact with Mr. Pitts but he appeared to be in an altered state," wrote Lee in his report. "I was unable to get any information from him and was unable to determine if he was on medication."
On the ground next to the jeep was a pair of pants belonging to Pitts. Inside the pocket of the pants was a knife.