Decatur, GA – An alleged Crips gang member who has been working as a fifth-grade teacher at a DeKalb County school was arrested on Mar. 23 in connection with the 2016 murders of two children.
Michael De’Sean White, 26, was arrested at Toney Elementary School, where he had been employed since March of 2017, the New York Post reported.
According to his arrest warrant, White is also a member of the Rolling 20s Crips street gang, WXIA reported.
Investigators said that 11-year-old Tatiyana Coates and her brother, 15-year-old Daveon Coates, were shot in their sleep on Oct. 22, 2016, by gang members who were searching for another 15-year-old boy who was temporarily staying at the family’s residence, according to the New York Post.
“The gang wanted their weapons back,” Clayton County Police Chief Michael Register told WXIA in 2017.
Expecting retaliation, the unnamed teen who the Crips were searching for fled the home prior to their arrival.
In addition to the Coates children, the boy also left behind his four siblings, aged six to 13, the New York Post reported.
The other children were not harmed in the attack.
One of the children helped investigators develop a sketch of one of the assailants, which ultimately helped lead them to White, WXIA reported.
“The details, as far as the sketch and the photo, are incredibly similar,” Maj. Daniel WSB.
One Crips member also told police that White was one of the shooters who murdered the Coates children, while another confirmed that White and other gang members had gone to the residence to physically harm people inside.
“It kicks you in the gut that someone who’s responsible for our children on a daily basis could possibly be involved with a heinous crime like this,” Clayton County Police Major Tina Daniel told WSB.
DeKalb school officials said that White underwent two background checks to secure employment with the school district, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The first occurred in March of 2017, before he was hired as a paraprofessional, and the second was completed prior to him being hired as a full-time teacher during the summer of 2017.
“On both occasions, nothing indicated this employee may be involved in criminal behavior,” district officials said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The district said that White has been removed from his position, pending the outcome of the investigation.
White has been charged with four counts of murder, Maj. Daniel told WSB.