SOUTH FORSYTH — Two days after federal agents thwarted the armed robbery of a south Forsyth drug store, the 36-year-old suspect from Cobb County remains hospitalized in federal custody for treatment of gunshot wounds.
According to FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett, Kelvone Charleston of Austell has been charged with assault on a federal officer. Additional charges are likely in connection with a string of as many as 32 armed robberies in the metro Atlanta area.
Emmett said that two FBI agents, along with a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy, were watching Charleston about 7 a.m. Saturday as he pulled into the parking lot of the CVS drug store at Old Atlanta Road and Windermere Parkway.
Emmett said they stopped Charleston before he entered the business, which had just opened, because they were certain he was about to rob it and has a "history of armed confrontations during these robberies.
“We couldn’t allow him to commit the robbery,” Emmett said.
When confronted, Charleston got back into his vehicle and attempted to drive away.
According to Emmett, this resulted in several collisions between Charleston’s car and the officers’ unmarked vehicles at the exit from CVS on to Windermere Parkway.
The vehicle in which Charleston was traveling was left straddling the median of the parkway, while a sport utility vehicle rolled onto its side with an FBI agent inside.
Emmett said that investigators are still determining the exact sequence involving the gunfire, but that Charleston was shot when he continued to present a threat. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect was armed and shot at the officers.
The federal agents were treated for what were described as crash-related injuries and have since been released from area hospitals. All are expected to recover, Emmett said.
While authorities could not confirm an exact link, it was exactly a week earlier that a CVS store on Bells Ferry Road in nearby Canton had been robbed just as employees opened the store for the morning.
In that robbery, the suspect reportedly took both money and personal property before locking a store clerk in the restroom.
After Saturday’s incident, Windermere Parkway was closed for hours between the entrance to South Forsyth Middle School and Old Atlanta Road as investigators gathered evidence.
Emmett credited Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies for securing the scene Saturday and helping take Charleston into custody.
“This was a very fluid situation, and we did not have time to notify the [local] sheriff’s office before the incident,” he said.
Emmett added that the federal agents did not know whether the suspect would end up in Forsyth or cross into neighboring Gwinnett or Fulton counties.
“We enjoy a great relationship with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, that was evident in the enormous cooperation and assistance [they provided] in the aftermath,” he said.