Tyreese Johnson, one of the three suspects in the hate-motivated shooting of 28-year-old Peters, appeared in Magistrate Court on Monday (August 12) for a preliminary hearing. There, Judge Nora Polk ruled there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to the Superior Court, where prosecutors from the district attorney’s office will take over the case.
At the hearing, K.E. Hoyt, the detective on the case, shed light on how the three suspects – Johnson, Shaleeya Moore, and Joshua Cortez Ellis – were identified during her testimony. Investigators tracked Peters’ credit card in the hours after he was shot, which led them to two gas stations and a Walmart, where the suspects were captured on surveillance cameras.
Hoyt said that the two men were involved in the shooting and Moore drove them to the gas stations afterwards. It’s unclear which of the men shot Peters, but according to Hoyt, both Johnson and Moore said Ellis was to blame.
Peters was shot in early June while walking home from a MARTA station in Stone Mountain. The attackers demanded Peters give them his backpack, and when he refused they shouted homophobic slurs at him and shot him twice – once in the chest and once in the neck.
A responding officer checked the “hate-motivated” box on the police report, however according to Hoyt, “it was determined that this was a robbery, and that he wasn’t targeted” because he was gay.
All three suspects have been taken into custody and face murder charges.