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Cobb police raid wrong apartment

September 03, 2001

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Cobb police raid wrong apartment

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by Mike Sampogna
Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer

ATLANTA A case of mistaken identity left Cobb police with egg on their face, and a new Cobb resident with a big scare.

Cobb police raided the apartment of John Bailey, because they were told he was a fugitive featured on the television series Americas Most Wanted.

Bailey was handcuffed and a gun was accidentally discharged in his house early Sunday morning because of the good intentions of the manager of the Woods at Overlook apartment complex.

The apartment manager of his complex saw Americas Most Wanted and called Cobb police to say she rented an apartment to one of the suspects featured on the show, Cobb police spokesman Dana Pierce said. Our officers ran the information on the Internet, and printed a picture of the suspect. They took it to the apartment manager, who said it was the same person.

Pierce said the apartment manager thought Bailey was James W. Detmer. Authorities in Missouri are looking for Detmer in connection with the January slaying of his father, Wilbert Detmer, as well as the March 2000 assault of his sister.

According to Pierce, a Cobb police SWAT team, acting on the information, conducted a raid on Baileys apartment about 3 a.m. Sunday.

They did a no-knock entry, Pierce said. As they knocked down the door, they saw Mr. Bailey, who stumbled back a few steps.

Pierce said Bailey was handcuffed and removed from the apartment, which was then searched by officers.

Pierce said while the search was under way, an H&K MP5 submachine gun accidentally discharged, firing a bullet through a door into the bathroom of the apartment.

Pierce said the apartment complex management will be responsible for repairing the bullet hole.

Once Bailey was outside his apartment, Pierce said it was quickly determined by officers that he was not Detmer.

The commander and lieutenant talked with the individual, Pierce said. When it was determined he was not him, he was released immediately. He was also told that a bullet was accidentally discharged from a gun during the search of his apartment.

Bailey told WAGA-TV he believes the shot was fired shortly after the police entered his apartment and that the bullet nearly hit him.

Pierce said neither Bailey nor a woman in his apartment were hurt, or in any danger at any time.

The man authorities were searching for has a history of mental instability. According to AMW, on March 30, 2000, Detmer got into an argument with his sister, Diane. Police said the fight culminated with Detmer pouring gasoline on her and trying to set her on fire before attempting to run her over with his car. Police believe Detmer fled to Florida, where he was arrested in November.

Detmer was released awaiting trial. On Jan. 1, 2001, police said Detmer hit his father, Wilber Detmer, about 13 times in the head and face with a claw hammer, killing him. Then, police say, James Detmer stole his fathers pick up truck and credit card. On Aug. 10, 2001, the pickup truck was found in Atlanta.

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