1 dead, 1 injured in Lilburn road rage shooting, police say

Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2023 at 11:10 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A road rage shooting left a 43-year-old man dead and another person with gunshot wounds in Lilburn Sunday.

According to Lilburn police, the shooting happened at the intersection of Harbins and Dickens at the entrance to the Durham Ridge subdivision. Police said two vehicles were involved.

“We determined that this was a mutual combat situation. Where both parties were armed, and both parties exchanged gunfire,” said Captain Scott Bennett, City of Lilburn Police Department. “Our investigation has determined that there were words exchanged. The conversation was in Spanish. So, at this time, we’re identifying and investigating further as to exactly what transpired.”

“I think somebody was not driving as fast or proceeding through the intersection in an expedient matter,” Bennett went on.

The suspect, identified as Luis Cruz, has been arrested. He is facing Aggravated Assault and Felony murder charges, police said.

The wounded person was taken to the hospital and a suspect was identified and arrested, the department said.

“Two male subjects--one passenger and one driver, had both sustained gunshot wounds to the upper torso. The driver was deceased,” Bennett said. “A third occupant of the black SUV was uninjured,” he said.

Telemundo Atlanta, a partner of Atlanta News First, spoke to a man who said he was in the car with the victims at the time of the shooting.

“The other driver was very fast. He didn’t want to stop. He just passed around us. He didn’t stop at the red light, and he passed forward and turned toward this side,” said Darwin Fontalvo, cousin to the man who died. “When he was passing the traffic light, flipped the bird with his hand. The guy who shot us stopped over here, he did a semi-circle, like he was giving a turn. He was swearing for us, he had a long riffle, and he rolled down the window. He has waiting for us,” Fontalvo alleged.

Fontalvo told us that his cousin who died is 43-year-old Omar Pastor.

Atlanta News First spoke to a neighbor who saw it all happen.

“I looked out the window and said ‘Oh, there’s a car that stopped at the middle of the intersection right here’ and I looked, and I kept watching, and I realized, out of nowhere, I see the driver pull out a gun, and they started opening fire. The minute it sunk into my head, my first thought was get my siblings, get them all to the room,” said Uriel Mejia. “Me and my sister ended up calling the police and we told them that somebody is dying outside our house, and we didn’t want to go out because all we saw was a car speeding off.”

Some people have raised concerns about this shooting started.

“As you’re probably aware of the other thorn in law enforcement side, the last couple of years has been street racing and the street takeovers, and this is a favorite location for that,” Bennett said. “Because of that, this location is already monitored, fairly closely by a patrol unit, particularly on Sundays on the weekends.”

Following this incident, Bennett and Mejia are sending important messages to the community.

“Trivial matters are not settled by violence and gunfire. It’s pointless. It’s senseless,” Bennett said. “People just need to stop, take a deep breath, and move on with their lives, and don’t engage over petty, petty issues, like whether or not, they were driving fast enough, or not proceeding through an intersection at a timely matter.”

The investigation remains ongoing.