AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An Augusta man faces two counts of attempted murder of a police officer after a shooting during Halloween weekend in New Orleans that law enforcement calls an ambush.
Very little is known about Donnell Hassell’s life in Augusta. But from what we could find, his alleged actions seem bizarre.
NewsChannel 6 learned Saturday that Officer Trevor Abney was shot in the face and another officer, Brooke Duncan, injured after police say 44-year-old Donnell Linwood Hassell fired 12 shots in the French Quarter at a police SUV Friday. Media outlets report Hassell was a passenger in a peticab when it happened and later could be seen on surveillance video running from officers. Police with the New Orleans Police Department announced during a press conference Monday that they located a .48 caliber handgun registered to Hassell in the area.
He was arrested by New Orleans Police Department and linked to a motorcycle club in Augusta called DA MOB M.C. Augusta Ga through social media pages. We found out that club held events at Ikonz Sportsbar and Grill on North Leg Road in Augusta and caught up with the owner to see if he knew Hassell.
Iknoz Sportsbar and Grill owner Dewayne Pearson said, “DA MOB M.C. is part of the Augusta Bikers Alliance, which is a sports biker and non sports bikers club that is in the Augusta area.”
Pearson said the motorcycle club held its anniversary event at his club in 2018 and on Wednesday nights it’s biker night there for all. He said DA MOB has never had a history of lawlessness and actively participates in community events such as Back to School drives and Thanksgiving Dinners. But he added he knows little about Hassell who serves as president.
“Army veteran and he did some time in Iraq,” he said. “As far as I know, he’s a quiet guy and I’m totally stunned at the events that happened in New Orleans. I think that’s an unfortunate situation.”
Court documents from New Orleans show Hassell is charged with two counts of attempted murder. A hearing took place Sunday and bond was set for $1.5 million although Hassell did not appear in open court due to a medical issue.
In Richmond County, he only has a few traffic violations.
The NOPD stated that Hassell was taken to jail after being released from the hospital due to a medical emergency, but it was not physical. Law enforcement does not consider the shooting to be domestic terrorism or anti-police and stated there is no motive. As NewsChannel 6 learned, they found no criminal background, but stated Hassell is a 20-year-veteran.
Media reports indicate that Officer Abney, who was in serious condition after being shot in the face, is now recovering. Though police stated during the press conference that he has a long road and there are concerns about his vision because he was shot under his eye.
As for Pearson, he stressed that accusations about his business due to its past connections with DA MOB are not warranted.
“We’re a sportsbar and grill. We cater to the community and we try to do things the right way. It really offends me to try to connect us with any negativity that happens outside of the scope of who we are.”
We will continue to follow this developing story.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps