In a significant breakthrough, Jalynd Rayford, aged 22, has been apprehended in connection with the tragic shooting that occurred at Patton Park on April 4, 2021. The incident claimed the life of 31-year-old Areyelle Yarbrough and left five others injured, including a 5-year-old child. Thankfully, all injured victims, aged between 15 and 21, are reported to be in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Rayford now faces charges of murder in the death of Areyelle Yarbrough, a development that brings a sense of closure to her grieving family. After over two years since the harrowing event, Rayford was taken into custody on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at approximately 5:15 a.m. local time. He was arrested at an apartment complex in Georgia with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, Georgia State Police SWAT, and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. Birmingham Police announced the arrest during a press conference held on Thursday.
Arrest Made in the Easter 2021 Homicide Investigation of Areyelle Yarbrough pic.twitter.com/AkWhoVrG7X
— Bhampolice (@BhamPolice) September 7, 2023
Following his arrest, Jalynd Rayford was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail, where he is being held without bond. As of Friday, September 8, 2023, he awaited extradition to Alabama. Tragically, Areyelle’s mother, another victim of the shooting, had passed away before Rayford’s arrest, but her father received the long-awaited news.
Areyelle Yarbrough’s father, Michael Yarbrough, expressed his gratitude for the closure Rayford’s arrest brings to their family. He credited divine timing for the development:
“Giving credit to God almighty for his timing. I am grateful that we have closure now and that the young man has been arrested, and we will watch the criminal system work and do its job,” he stated.
Homicide Detective Jonathan Ross commented on Michael Yarbrough’s reaction, noting his happiness with the outcome:
“He was delighted, very happy. I’m as happy as he is. We don’t give up. At all,” Ross affirmed.
Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond expressed his satisfaction with the arrest, underscoring the core purpose of law enforcement officers:
“This is the whole reason that you’re a law enforcement officer — to be able to tell a family that you’ve arrested the person responsible for their loved one’s death, to get some closure for their family,” Thurmond said.
He also emphasized the relentless commitment of investigators to solving cases, regardless of how old they may be, acknowledging the frustration experienced by many families when justice seems elusive:
“Our investigators never give up. Regardless of how old a case may be, they’re always working to solve those cases, and I know that’s the frustration of many families is that they feel like their case is not being worked,” Thurmond added.