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Updated: 10:05 a.m. Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Posted: 10:28 a.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cops: Robber fatally shot in Little Five Points


Cops: Robber fatally shot in Little Five Points photo
Wayne Washington / AJC
A group of people wait in line at a store called Wish in Little Five Points on Saturday, June 22, 2013.
Cops: Robber fatally shot in Little Five Points photo
Wayne Washington / AJC
A group of people wait in line at a store called Wish in Little Five Points on Saturday, June 22, 2013.

By Wayne Washington

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta police still had not released the name Sunday of an armed citizen who shot a would-be robber in Little Five Points on Saturday morning.

The dead man, who also has not been identified, was killed after allegedly trying to rob a group of people waiting in line to buy the new, $180 LeBron James sneakers.

Witnesses told one man in line outside Wish, a clothing and shoe store on Moreland Avenue, pulled out a gun and shot the would-be robber.

The shooter then got back in line, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Police have not charged anyone and for now consider the shooting to be self-defense. No additional information was being released Sunday morning, said Officer John Chafee, an Atlanta Police Department spokesman.

“He [the shooter] really stood up for all of us,” said Taylor White, who told Channel 2 that he was in line when the shooting happened. “I salute the homie that did that.”

Channel 2 reported that a parking lot attendant had warned customers that a man had been attempting to pickpocket people in the area during the past week.

The warning apparently did not dim desire for the Nike LeBron X EXT sneakers, which were released Saturday.

Sneakers inspired by basketball players have long held a potent allure for fans, and the LeBron X EXT clearly fits that mold.

It doesn’t hurt that James’ team, the Miami Heat, won the National Basketball Association championship Thursday night.

Getting a pair of the coveted sneakers meant getting to Wish early. Police responded to the shooting at 5:30 a.m. — six and a half hours before Wish opened.

By 11:30 a.m., a line 45-people long stretched from Wish’s door down to the sidewalk and almost halfway up the next block.

Some brought chairs to make their wait more comfortable, but police tossed them aside and made the sneaker-hungry customers stand in a single file instead of clustering around the store’s entrance.

“It ain’t that serious,” one woman said as she looked at fellow customers trying to stay as close to the store’s entrance as possible. But she wasn’t giving up her spot in line, either.

Many were aware of the shooting that had taken place a few hours earlier, but they were still answering the sneakers’ siren call.

“Sounds like he brought it on himself,” a man who would not give his name said of the shooting victim.

What makes the LeBron X EXT so special?

“It’s the leather and the denim,” the man said. “It’s basically a pair of pants on your foot.”

Someone in line called out that Wish would only have 22 pairs for sale, an unconfirmed announcement that brought groans from those waiting in the sun.

“They’ve gotta have more than that!” said a young man in a Heat hat and black sneakers that bore the team colors near the toe.

“Everyone wants them because they’re exclusives,” said Leslie Garcia, adding that she planned to buy a pair for her 5-year-old son, D.J.

Exclusives, Garcia explained, means that only a few locations in Atlanta will be allowed to carry the coveted shoe.

D.J. got antsy as his mother and father, Dan Garcia, discussed sneaker lust … and the shooting.

The Garcias are Heat fans who moved to Atlanta from Miami five years ago.

“He was probably just minding his business,” Dan Garcia said of the shooter.

“He was probably after that shoe money,” Leslie Garcia said of the man who was shot.

Wish sold its supply of the Nike LeBron X EXT in less than two hours.

The police, meanwhile, said their investigation of the shooting continues.

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