Atlanta police arrested a 19-year-old man who is accused of targeting gay men through the cruising app Jack’d, linking him to at least three violent robberies and kidnappings that included shooting at one victim and beating another.
Davonte Hinson, 19, remains in the Fulton County Jail facing 15 charges, including armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, hijacking, identity theft, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The charges are related to three armed robberies during a week in late June in which Hinson allegedly targeted gay men he met on Jack’d.
Using the name “Charles Holder,” Hinson would allegedly arrange to hookup with his victims in southwest Atlanta. When they arrived, he would meet them on University Avenue and ask the victims to drive a few blocks away so he could buy marijuana, according to incident reports from the Atlanta Police Department. When they did, a second person – and in one case, a third accomplice – would approach the vehicle, pull a gun and the men would rob the victim.
Hinson and the other men would also allegedly demand at gunpoint that the victim provide the PIN to their debit card. One of the men would leave – in two cases, taking the victim’s car – to drive to an ATM to steal the victim’s cash while the other would hold the victim, according to police reports.
Project Q Atlanta first reported one of the robberies on Thursday. A second victim came forward on Friday. Jeremy Nealey, 39, says he met Hinson on Jack’d and when he arrived to meet him about 3 a.m. on June 28, Hinson and another man allegedly robbed him.
“When we got there and parked, something was not right. But it was too late. The next thing I knew, there was a gun in my face and nothing I could do at that point,” Nealey says. “They took me out of the car and took me behind the building.”
Nealey says Hinson took his debit card and Toyota Prius and drove to a nearby Chevron on Pryor Street to withdraw cash. The two robbers were coordinating using cellphones. When the card didn’t work there or at a second convenience store, the robbers grew agitated, according to an incident report. Nealey says his bank noticed the multiple attempts to withdraw cash and shut down his card to prevent fraud.
“Mr. Nealey stated that the subject kept telling the gunman that the PIN was not working and then the gunman would press the gun harder against his head threatening him to give him the correct number,” according to an incident report.
Nealey says he was held with a gun to his head for about 20 minutes. But when Hinson called the second man again, his assailant lowered the gun as he answered the phone. Nealey bolted.
“The guy lowered his gun when he answered the phone that time. I ran all the way from the intersection of University and Ira Street all the way to the Chevron on Pryor Street. I ran straight to a paramedic and they radioed the police for me,” Nealey says.
The men stole Nealey’s phone, wallet and Prius, which police recovered in the area a short time later.
'They continued to attack by hitting him with a gun'
Hinson allegedly started his Jack’d crime spree on June 23 when he robbed Kevin Dean. Hinson and two other men took $600 from Dean’s checking account after stealing his debit card and forcing him at gunpoint to provide his PIN. The men let Dean leave after the robbery but shot at his car as he fled. Police found a bullet lodged in a door of his car.
Two days later, Hinson and two other men – both armed with guns – allegedly robbed a 35-year-old Tennessee man who meet Hinson on Jack’d. When one of the armed assailants ordered the man out of his, the victim fled, according to an incident report. But Hinson and the other two men caught him and then beat him.
“They proceeded to attack the male by hitting him with a gun on his back, and continually punching the man,” according to the incident report.
The men also ripped the victim’s pants and stole his wallet, driver’s license, credit cards and $50 before they fled.
Hinson’s alleged Jack’d crime spree came to an end days later. He was identified in video surveillance as a suspect in a carjacking. And on July 4, the Atlanta police officer who responded to Nealey’s robbery spotted Hinson walking along Garibaldi Street wearing the same clothes he wore in the Jack’d robberies. He was quickly arrested. On July 7, the Tennessee man identified Hinson in a photo line-up, according to police.
Nealey says he was impressed with the response by Atlanta police.
“APD was really, really great in the way they handled this. They were sensitive about what happened to me and they weren’t dismissive. They responded fast and they genuinely seemed to care about what was happening. I got a great response out of APD,” Nealey says.
He also expressed relief that an arrest has been made in the string of robberies.
“I’m ecstatic that they caught they guy. I am very happy that it happened. I was upset to learn other people were involved and that they targeted a specific set of the gay population,” Nealey says.
A spokesperson for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office says a trial date for Hinson has not been set.