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A Lawrenceville man who demanded a COVID-19 vaccine or test at a Buford testing location and was refused is accused of assaulting a testing site employee.

Tyree Chappell

The incident occurred Thursday, Dec. 23, at a COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot at the Mall of Georgia at 3333 Buford Drive in Buford. According to an incident report completed by the responding Gwinnett County Police Department officer, the suspect, Tyree Chappell, 45, approached the testing site employee and requested a vaccine. The employee refused, informing Chappell that the site did not accept walk-up and that he would need to make an appointment and be in a vehicle. The suspect then demanded services and when the employee again refused, Chappell is accused of punching the employee in the face, causing a large laceration to the victim’s eye, which he then could not open and required stitches. The victim said he tried to defend himself and swing back, but he wasn’t sure if he made contact with the suspect, who then fled on foot from the scene.

During the encounter, the suspect had completed a form for the testing site, and the responding officer was able to obtain his address and a driver’s license photo from the Georgia Crime Information Center, from which the victim identified Chappell.

After speaking with two witnesses who confirmed Chappell had been the aggressor, a warrant was obtained for his arrest for aggravated battery. When officers and a K9 went to the suspect’s address, they met with family members who said he wasn’t home. While exiting the neighborhood, the officers spotted a man who matched the driver’s license photo, and Chappell was arrested.

As of Wednesday evening, Jan. 5, the suspect remained in the Gwinnett County Jail on a $5,700 bond.

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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