Three former Blue Tide basketball standouts were arrested Tuesday for their suspected involvement in an armed home invasion and burglary in Long County.
Long County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Nickey Anderson said Jimmy Bacon, 19, Eli Guest, 19, and Christopher Buckner, 20, are in custody. The armed robbery happened at a residence on Arnold Drive early Tuesday morning. Anderson said officers also are looking for Derek Davis, 17. Davis may be armed and should be considered dangerous, the investigator said. A fifth man, Brandon Izzard, 23, also is a suspect and will be charged as soon as he is released from Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah where he is being treated for gunshot wounds. Izzard was shot in the leg Tuesday during a scuffle with a Ludowici Police Officer. The officer reportedly shot the suspect when Izzard attempted to draw the officer’s weapon.
All of the men who were arrested were charged with armed robbery, burglary and seven counts of kidnapping, Anderson said, and Bacon also was charged with obstruction of a police officer during the performance of duty.
The five men allegedly broke into a home on Arnold Drive at around 1 a.m. while a woman and her four children were sleeping. The children’s father was doing laundry. After entering the home, the suspects reportedly drew two confirmed pistols, forced the family into a bathroom and began to move items out of the residence, Anderson said.
A neighbor saw the men coming out of the home carrying pillow cases filled with the family’s belongings and called 911. When the men drove off, the neighbor provided the dispatcher with a description of the car and the direction in which they were traveling.
A LCSO unit and a Ludowici Police Department unit chased the men onto Sharpe Road where the driver of the vehicle, Guest, lost control of the car and drove it into a ditch.
The suspect tried to flee in different directions, but three law enforcement officers tackled Bacon and Izzard. A deputy and an LPD officer handcuffed Bacon and LPD Officer Adam Denton tackled Izzard. According to Anderson, Izzard allegedly tried to draw Denton’s weapon and the officer fired three shots. One round struck Izzard’s leg and a second round hit his ankle.
When the other two officers heard the gunshots they left Bacon, who was handcuffed and lying on the ground, and ran to see who had been shot. Bacon seized the opportunity to escape, still handcuffed.
Izzard was taken to the hospital in Savannah where he underwent surgery on his leg Wednesday. Anderson said Izzard’s condition is stable, and once he is released from the hospital he will be arrested. Izzard was just released from prison on May 29 after serving more than three years for burglary and for receiving stolen property.
Guest and Buckner were arrested Tuesday and Bacon turned himself in the same day. Law enforcement officers are looking for Davis.
“We believe he has a weapon, and he is considered to be dangerous,” Anderson said.
Four of the men are suspected in at least two other burglaries in the area, including one at Oak Dale Mobile Home Park and at Pecan Park in Ludowici.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating Denton’s actions during the incident but, according to Anderson, nothing seems to be out of order and it appears the officer acted appropriately.
“This was a bad deal, but it looks like these guys are going to be linked to several of the recent burglaries we’ve had in the county and the city,” the chief investigator said.
Anderson also praised the actions of the neighbor who called for help.
“If this person hadn’t made that call and provided the information that they did, these guys probably would still be out there. It’s good to know that some people still will take an action and do the right thing,” he said.