THOMASVILLE — A mother of four told police she almost lost consciousness when the father of some of her children strangled her in the children's presence.

The suspect, Wilbert Battle, went to the woman's Wood Valley apartment.

"They were talking, and he got mad, accusing her of things. He put her in a chokehold," said Sgt. Scott Newberry, Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division assistant commander.

When the 27-year-old woman was nearly unconscious, Battle released her and made threats about "shooting up her apartment, Newberry said.

"He said if he was arrested, it would just be a family violence charge, and he would come back and shoot up the apartment," the officer said.

The officer said children ages 4, 5, 1 and an infant were present during the incident.

Warrants were issued on Battle for aggravated assault by strangulation and cruelty to children in the third degree.

Police, assisted by the Thomas County Sheriff's Office, went to Battle's Tom Street residence and knocked on the door. No one came to the door.

A pizza delivery person arrived, and the suspect's vehicle was parked at the residence.

Battle's mother unlocked the door, and the suspect was taken into custody.

During a search of the residence, officers found two firearms — a shotgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The firearms were seized.

The 33-year-old suspect also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and participation in a criminal street gang. Newberry said Battle is a documented gang member.

Battle was on probation at the time of the arrest. He remains behind bars at the Thomas County Jail. 

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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