BUFORD — Investigators are still on the scene of a shooting at the O’Reilly Auto Parts store located at 2786 Hamilton Mill Rd. in unincorporated Buford. According to Cpl. Michele Pihera, Public Information Officer with the Gwinnett County Police Department, the 9-1-1 call came in at approximately 7:45 p.m. Wednesday as a person shot call.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a black male was sitting in his vehicle that was parked in O’Reilly’s parking lot. He was watching a female employee of the store assist a customer. Once the female employee was finished helping the customer, she went inside of the store. The black male suspect followed her into O’Reilly’s store demanding that she open her cash register.
A second employee heard the commotion and came out of a backroom in the store and was walking towards the front. Upon noticing the suspect, the employee who was armed went to draw his gun. The suspect saw the male employee do this and shot him.
The suspect then fled the scene in a vehicle that turned out of the auto parts store parking lot and proceeded towards Interstate 85. It is unknown if the suspect turned onto the interstate or not.
The male employee died at the scene from the gunshot wound. His identity has not been released yet.
Cpl. Pihera said that investigators are leaning towards this incident being a robbery that turned deadly. This store was robbed by gunpoint on November 22, 2019, and just down the road, the Advance Auto Parts store was robbed on November 5, 2019, also at gunpoint. When asked whether this incident was related to the two robberies that took place in November, Cpl. Pihera replied, “I don’t know. I know our detective is looking into other things that have happened. Whether or not they are related, I don’t know just yet.”
The Voice first reported on the November robberies in early December in the story, “Second armed robbery in a month on Hamilton Mill Road”.
A detailed description of the suspect and the suspect vehicle are still being pursued.
Several governmental agencies are on the scene of the shooting. Those include Gwinnett PD’s gang unit, robbery unit, homicide unit, and crime scene unit along with the District Attorney’s office.
— By Alicia Couch Payne