Teen charged with murder in double shooting at Georgia shopping center

By Shaddi Abusaid

ATLANTA — An Atlanta teenager is dead and his 17-year-old accomplice faces a murder charge after an auto break-in led to an exchange of gunfire Friday afternoon outside a busy Buckhead shopping plaza, authorities said.

The double shooting happened about 4 p.m. when a man returned to the parking lot of the Peachtree Battle shopping center and found someone inside his Jeep SUV, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Police said the two teens were breaking into the car when the vehicle’s owner came out of a store and confronted them. That confrontation escalated to gunfire, and both suspects were shot, Atlanta police Deputy Chief Timothy Peek said. Authorities have not said who fired first.

Dontavious Cobb, 19, of Atlanta, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. His alleged accomplice, 17-year-old Coby Senior was wounded, but managed to run away. Police believe Senior may have fired his own gun at the SUV’s owner as he fled.

He was later located at Treehouse Restaurant and Pub in Atlanta’s Peachtree Hills neighborhood about a half-mile away, Peek told reporters at the scene. He was taken to the hospital with a single gunshot wound. The vehicle’s owner was detained for questioning after the shooting but has not been charged, authorities said.

A bullet hole could be seen in the passenger window of the Jeep.

On Saturday, Atlanta police said Senior faces a felony murder charge in connection with Cobb’s death. The teen is also being charged with entering an auto, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a person under 18, APD spokesman Sgt. John Chafee told the AJC.

In Georgia, a suspect can be charged with murder if their alleged accomplice is killed during the commission of a felony. Senior remained at Grady Memorial Hospital on Saturday, but will be moved to the Fulton County Jail following his release, authorities said.

The daytime shooting brought business at the typically bustling shopping plaza to a halt — and raised more questions about safety in a neighborhood shaken by the city’s ongoing crime wave. The shopping center is home to a Publix as well as several longtime neighborhood shops and restaurants, including Whitehall Tavern, H&F Bottle Shop, Richards Variety Store and Cafe Lapin. The scene of the shooting is also near E. Rivers Elementary School.

John Akins, who said he has lived in the area for about five years, witnessed the shooting and immediately went to check on Cobb when the gunfire ceased. He checked the 19-year-old’s vitals, but told the AJC there was nothing he could do.

“It was clear he was dead straight away, then the police were showing up,” Akins said Friday.

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