Around 11:40 p.m. Monday night, Columbus Police responded to a reported shooting at 2018 ½ College Street. Paramedics worked to save Eddie Terrell “Megg” Bankhead, 35, on scene before he was taken to BMH-GT for treatment, where he died nearly four hours later during emergency surgery.
The exact sequence of events leading to Bankhead’s death are somewhat unclear, and it is yet undetermined whether one or two men entered the home, but at least one man with a bandana over his face entered the residence and fired two shots from a small caliber gun, both of which hit Bankhead. He was struck once under his arm and once in his abdomen. The two other people in the house were uninjured.
Columbus Police and Fire department, as well as BMH-GT ambulances and Lowndes County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene where they found Bankhead, still alert and talking, in the passenger seat of a white Mercury Grand Marquis parked in front of the home. Lowndes County Deputy Todd Mistrot and Columbus Police Officer Lance Luckey moved Bankhead from the car to the ground, where medical personnel tended to him before transferring him to the ambulance.
Police found a gun at the scene, but it was unclear whether it was the one involved in the shooting. They also found what was described as a “significant amount” of crack cocaine as well as a digital scale and two bullet casings in the back bedroom of the house where the shooting occurred.
According to Bankhead’s sister, Georgia “Tan” Jackson, her brother “Megg” as family and friends called him, was in his house on College Street with friends Robert “Big Rob” Fowler and Rennie Gibbs. Jackson was sitting on her sister’s porch, a couple of blocks away when they heard sirens and saw police cars headed towards her brother’s house.
“I said ‘man something bad happened,’” said Jackson. “And I said ‘Nita, run to the corner, I hope it’s not at Megg’s house’ cuz I was nervous at the time. I got on my cell phone and I called him twice and he never did answer the phone.”
Jackson said her brother always answers her calls and it made her very concerned. She says she then saw Gibbs.
“She was running down the street, crying and shaking and hollering. I asked her what was going on and she said Big Rob got shot twice and the other guy had the gun on him.”
“I said I don’t give a D about Big Rob. I want to know about my brother. Is he shot?”
According to Jackson, Gibbs said she didn’t know and then ran off. Jackson went down to her brother’s house where the police would not let her near the scene.
“I went down there and they wouldn’t let me in to see. I saw Big standing up there, and I knew he wasn’t shot and then I saw my brother on the ground and they wouldn’t let me go see him. If they woulda let me I knew he woulda told me something. Even at the hospital, they wouldn’t let us see him until after he passed,” she said.
Jackson said she didn’t know why anyone would want to hurt her brother. Bankhead was disabled from birth, handicapped from being born with dislocated hips and knees. He used a wheelchair, but could walk with the help of a walker.
Jackson said that she and her family were confused as to how Bankhead ended up in the car, but that Big Rob had told her he was trying to take Bankhead to the hospital. “He said that my brother said that he didn’t want and ambulance,” said Jackson.
Part of the night’s confusion may be due to Gibbs and her involvement and telling of the events according to Jackson.
“Rennie done told two or three different stories,” said Jackson. Gibbs, who had dated Bankhead on and off, is known locally and nationally for being charged with a depraved-heart murder of her unborn baby in 2006 after overdosing on cocaine.
Gibbs neglected to return a call from The Packet, but her grandmother states that Gibbs was not at the scene during the crime.
“She wasn’t there,” said her grandmother in a phone interview with The Packet. “She was the one that called the police. Rennie is grieving about that boy right now. She took care of that boy. This ain’t got nothing to do with her baby. I’m sick of the Dispatch bringing up her baby. That’s all I got to say, I’m gettin’ pissed.”
According to Jackson, Gibbs told her she left the scene because she had warrants out for her arrest.
“I asked her ‘Why did you leave when you was in that house (when the shooting happened?’) And she said “I got warrants, I got warrants.” Jackson said she responded “I don’t give a….how many warrants you got. If you know something, you better get back there and tell the police so we can find out who did this to my brother.”
“He was handicapped!” said a livid Jackson. “He couldn’t get around, you had to help him at all times, even with that walker. They didn’t have to shoot him.”
“They better get em, before I do. I am dead serious and I don’t care who knows it. They better get em before I do. I’m doing my own investigation,” she said.
Jackson said she even has her suspicions that Gibbs was somehow involved.
“I just think she might have had something to do with it. She had tried to rob him once before herself,” said Jackson.
Jackson didn’t approve of her brother’s relationship with Gibbs and said that her brother was well aware of it. “He never kept no secrets from me, ‘cept for some things like that with that Rennie girl because he knew I didn’t like her,” said Jackson.
“They had broken up, I didn’t know that they had gotten back together. But if she was over there, they were back dating. He knew I didn’t like her, so he kept her hid. Like if i’d go to the grocery store for him or something, he’d take a long time to get to the door, and keep his bedroom door shut… He didn’t want me to see her cause he already knew I was gonna jump her.”
Jackson said that Bankhead didn’t hang out with people that might get him into trouble. “If he knew somebody was like that, he wouldn’t fool with them,” she said.
Bankhead had, however, had a few run-ins with the law previous to his murder. In addition to two marijuana-related arrests in the past five years, Bankhead had previous arrests related to cocaine charges during the years 1996-2002. He also served several years in jail.
“Yeah, he did the drug thing, but he paid for it. He served his time. It wasn’t no whole bunch like people said. He had drug things twice. It wasn’t major or that bad.”
“He was my heart,” said Jackson. “ He was one of the sweetest, I’m talking about the best person you want to meet in your life. If you didn’t have it, he got it. A lot of people right now owe him. He would never ever never hurt nobody, never unless you tried to do something to him. He wasn’t scared, but he would never hurt nobody. He helped people. That’s the kind of person he was.”
Jackson said that Bankhead had taken computer science classes at EMCC and was “super super smart.” “Smarter than the teachers!” Bankhead’s mother added.
“You didn’t have to take his life, he didn’t do nothing. I always said I’d rather go before him or my mom. I don’t know how I can take it. This is very hard,” she said.
In addition to his mother, Bankhead leaves behind his father, who lives in Macon; five siblings; and three children, Mariah Bankhead, Zyrique Butler, and McQuayla Drungo. Arrangements are incomplete and being handled by Carter’s Funeral Services of Columbus.
Bankhead’s case is the sixth murder this year in Lowndes County.
[The address where the shooting happened, 2018 1/2 College St., has been the focus of numerous police calls in recent months. – Ed.] 0