NORCROSS, Ga -- Gwinnett County Police
are crediting some ordinary citizens for helping them find the "smoking gun" in a double murder case, making the prosecution of the case an easier task.
John Clark is the President of the Gwinnett County Citizen Police Academy's Alumni Association
. He and three other volunteers were called on by police Saturday morning to search for the murder weapon in the double homicide.
Members of the Alumni Association are trained in search and rescue. "We're at the disposal of Gwinnett County Police and Emergency Management, and we go out when we're called and respond within anywhere in the county," Clark said.
Police were dispatched to the Highland Walk apartments on South Norcross Tucker Road late Friday night where two males were found shot and killed inside a vehicle. Police arrested Vandara Nao, age 21, and charged him in connection with one of the murders.
But Nao had allegedly gotten rid of the gun he used. A gun would have been crucial evidence in the prosecution of the murder case. Witnesses told police they saw the gunman toss a handgun into a wooded area behind the apartments.
"We knew it was a black gun, a semi-automatic," said Ron Jacomin, one of four volunteers who were called in to search for the weapon. "Somebody came walking over, I think it was a security guard and I said, 'Did you see him throw it?'"Jacomin said. "He said 'Yeah, he just heaved and threw it.'"
After two hours of searching in a wooded ravine, Jacomin, a former Pennsylvania State Trooper, found the weapon. "Nine times out of 10, you don't find a thing and when I found that thing there I said, oh, my gosh, we've got it" he said.
"We can't go and put on a gun and go riding around in a police car, but we can certainly go out and provide manpower for a search," Clark said.
"This makes up for all the times you don't find a thing," Jacomin said. "This makes up for it."
And for someone who has spent time searching in a dumpster for evidence, you can understand what he means.