Police: Marine killed while home to attend great-grandmother's funeral

Chance Jammal Kelley, shown here in this undated photo from social media, was stationed in South Carolina. Kelley was on leave in his hometown on Thomasville, Ga. to attend the funeral of his great-grandmother when he was shot and killed on the morning on Jan. 9, 2020.


By PATTI DOZIER | The Valdosta Daily Times | Published: January 10, 2020

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (Tribune News Servicer) — The man whose body was found in a Thomasville alleyway early Thursday morning was identified as a Marine home from the military to attend his great-grandmother's funeral.

Maj. Wade Glover, a Thomasville Police Department public information officer, said officials have not determined a motive nor who is involved in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Chance Jammal Kelley, who was stationed in South Carolina.

Kelley was shot multiple times near Madison Alley, police said.

Witnesses said they saw a body lying face-down in the street shortly after they heard gunshots in the area around 4:45 a.m., said Glover. The victim's 2014 Honda Civic was stolen, but found early Thursday afternoon, according to police.

Police detectives and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents began processing the crime scene at 5 a.m. Thursday.

Chris Kelley, the victim's brother, was near the scene of the crime when it occured. He found it difficult to put into words what the loss of his younger sibling meant.

"He was a solid dude," Kelley said of his younger brother. "Allow the family the opportunity to really deal with what's going on [...] I ain't trying to lose any other people."

The victim's great-uncle, Keith Tyrone Thomas, said Kelley had returned home to attend the Saturday funeral of his great-grandmother, Bernice Thomas, Thomas' mother.

Glover said law enforcement needs the public's help if they saw or heard anything related to the shooting. The name of anyone providing information will remain confidential.

"This is a tragic event," Police Chief Troy Rich said at the crime scene. "I want to assure the community it was an isolated incident."

The chief said all resources would be called out to solve the crime quickly and arrest the perpetrator to make the community safer.

When asked how his family would deal with the dual deaths, Thomas said, "One day at a time. That's all we can do."

Information from WCTV was included in this report.

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