Two arrested in Berry College student's murder

The arrests were made Saturday night.

ROME, GA - Two teenagers have been arrested in the shooting death of a Berry College student.

Ricket Carter of Columbus and Troy Cokley of Riverdale, both 19, were arrested Saturday night in Columbus.

Both are being charged murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of controlled substance in connection to the murder of Joseph McDaniel, 19, who was found dead early Saturday morning at his apartment complex in Rome. He had been studying business management.

Police believe the men traveled to Rome to meet McDaniel, who was originally from Columbus. An argument ensued that resulted in McDaniel's death.

A nearby neighbor said he heard the shot and then saw what he believes was the suspect.

Ed Topolinski has worked in gun sales for 30 years, so he’s familiar with firearms. He said he heard one round from a pistol fired just feet from his apartment, and then a black car, with all of it’s lights off darts out of the complex.

While Floyd County police are still investigating, Topolinski said he heard one man screaming that the shooting was an accident.

"All I heard was the gunfire," he said. "He got to the window and a car was flying out of this driveway. I waited a few seconds and then all of a sudden that guy came out and started balling and screaming and going nuts. I called 911 and everything went from there.

McDaniel is the second Berry College student to die this month, and the third to die since summer.

Sophomore cross country and track runner David Shankles passed away suddenly on Oct. 10.

Debbie Heida, Berry's vice president for student affairs and dean of students, sent a statement to 11Alive that was also sent to students and staff on Saturday:

As a college community already mourning the loss of one of its students, this additional tragedy cuts deep.  We grieve with Joseph’s family and friends.  Students are encouraged to reach out to their Resident Advisors or Student Affairs staff members if they need assistance in connecting with a member of the Counseling Center or Chaplain’s staff.

The police are investigating all leads regarding the circumstances of the shooting and more information will be provided at a later time.

Our community has been remarkable in showing support and care for each other in tragic circumstances and it is heartbreaking to need to do so again.  Please be as supportive of each other as possible as we all seek to make sense of this tragedy.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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