Derek Zika was arrested Sunday in Atlanta, Ga.


A Statesville man was arrested on various charges on Sunday after he was detained on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., during a protest over the Israel-Hamas war.

The Emory Police Department announced the arrest of Derek Zika, 35, of Statesville in a news release. Six other people were arrested Sunday and charged with vandalism for their actions during the ongoing protests.

Zika, who pleaded guilty to felony burning personal property and received a suspended jail sentence in Iredell County in December of 2023, was arrested on the Emory Quad on Sunday afternoon, police said.

He was carrying knives and a pepper spray canister at the time of his arrest, according to the news release.

Zika was charged with criminal trespass, obstructing a law enforcement officer, possession of a weapon in a school safety zone, criminal trespass and crossing state lines with weapons, intoxicants or drugs. He was transported to the Dekalb County Jail.

After obtaining a search warrant, EPD officers searched Zika’s vehicle on Monday and found an axe, a hatchet and two knives in a bag with survival gear, police said.

EPD Chief Burt Buchtinec expressed his gratitude to community members who alerted the department to Zika’s presence on campus.

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