Suspect arrested in Augusta 13-year-old’s murder

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says it has several warrants on Thornton, including for murder.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 11:07 AM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 11:15 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Authorities in Pennsylvania have arrested the suspect in the March 28 fatal shooting of a 13-year-old who’d gone outside to pick up a late-night food delivery.

The suspect’s name is Gregory Thornton, 30, of Baltimore, according to authorities. He was staying in Augusta at the time of the slaying of Buddy Brown Jr.

Thornton fled back to Baltimore after the slaying at the Richmond Summit Apartments, 744 Broad St., according to authorities.

He’d been the subject of a manhunt in Maryland in the past couple of weeks. But authorities said Wednesday morning they’d captured him in Pennsylvania.

Thornton was arrested Wednesday morning east of Chambersburg in middle Pennsylvania. He is in U.S. Marshal’s Service custody now, but will eventually be extradited back here to Georgia.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says it has several warrants on Thornton, including for murder.


The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service were going to serve a warrant last month at his apartment in Hartford County outside Baltimore when he fled and took police on a high-speed chase, according to authorities. The pursuit was called off because it became too dangerous.

Thornton had been on the loose since then.

Buddy was shot after going downstairs around 12:20 or 1 a.m. March 28 to pick up his DoorDash order. The murder was part of a more than yearlong surge in violent crime across the CSRA that’s now claimed nearly 90 lives.

Soon afterward, his dad fell asleep, then got a call around 3 a.m. that the boy’s body had been found outside the midrise brick apartment building.

For Buddy’s family, this arrest is a small step toward justice, but Buddy’s grandmother says she never received a call from law enforcement.

“They didn’t care. Nobody didn’t care,” said Anita Smith, grandmother.

She says she hasn’t heard a word from Richmond County investigators in weeks.

“Three days or four days after Buddy got murdered and I haven’t heard anything since,” she said.

No answers about his killer led to constant worry.

“I’m up half of the night. Looking out the window seeing if anyone’s going to come and break in the house. I worry about my grandchildren. Worry about my daughters. Worry about my son, my grandson. I was just scared for our life. I really was,” she said.

Unfortunately, it’s a fear that’s gripped her before. Twenty-three years ago, her son Derek was murdered in Burke County.

“It brings back a lot of memories. It had me all choked up inside, and I said, ‘Oh Lord, please don’t let me die.’ I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I really was,” said Smith.

She says she knows her grandson left this place trying to protect those around him.

“I’ve got a feeling. I believe Buddy was trying to protect everybody and was probably fighting with Thorton,” she said.

Buddy Brown
Buddy Brown(Contributed)

They told News 12 authorities to believe that when Buddy went downstairs to get food, Thornton was trying to get into the midrise brick apartment building.

Authorities believe Buddy wouldn’t open the door for Thornton – which may have cost the boy his life.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said it “would like to give credit and thanks” to the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force – Augusta, U.S. Marshal’s Capital Fugitive Task Force – Maryland, and U.S. Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force – Pennsylvania.