Investigators return to a crime scene at the Retreat at Johns Creek apartments Wednesday after police said new evidence suggests a Monday night shooting could be connected to a body found inside a burning car in Gwinnett County on Tuesday.
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Police search for evidence in Gwinnett burned body case at Johns Creek apartments

Investigators are trying to piece together what happened in the six hours between a shooting at a north Fulton apartment complex and a burning car in a Gwinnett County neighborhood, where a woman was found dead early Tuesday.

The woman’s body was discovered about 3:30 a.m. once the fire was out. The blue Honda sedan was parked outside a neighborhood clubhouse in the Springlake Cove subdivision off Springlake Road in Lawrenceville before officials say it was set ablaze.

RELATED: Homicide, arson investigations underway after body found in burning vehicle

Lawrenceville police have not identified the woman, but after learning the identity of the car’s owner, they have been in contact with one of her acquaintances. According to Johns Creek police, the investigation led them to a Johns Creek apartment complex, where the acquaintance said he traveled with the woman in the Honda the night before her death.

Investigators were combing the Retreat at Johns Creek apartments on State Bridge Road for evidence Wednesday, Johns Creek police spokesman Capt. Chris Byers told AJC.com.

 

They had been called to the complex about 9 p.m. Monday after residents heard several gunshots, and Byers said some witnesses saw people running away into the woods.

They found a live round on the ground, but no victims and no suspects.

“At that point, when they were out here, there was no evidence of anything besides shots were being fired and that some people were seen fleeing the scene,” he said.

They returned to look for more clues about 1 a.m. Wednesday once they learned of the possible connection to the Gwinnett case.

The victim’s acquaintance told Gwinnett police he drove the woman to the Retreat at Johns Creek for “some type of drug deal,” Byers said. But when the other parties showed up, it went south.

“They had guns, and shots began to ring out,” he said. “He advised that he did shoot back and there was a shootout between them at this location. At that point he fled.”

The man did not know what happened to the woman or his car, he told police. He last saw her sitting in the passenger seat, Byers said.

“Investigators are starting from there,” he said. “She was in the car, he fled the scene, so somebody jumped in the car and drove it out of here with her in the vehicle.”

The next six hours remain a mystery.

Police don’t know if she was injured in the Johns Creek shooting, but the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner determined that the woman died from a gunshot wound, Channel 2 Action News reported. Lawrenceville police told the news station they believe the victim, who was in her early 20s, was likely dead before the fire was set.

Byers said investigators have recovered two additional spent rounds from the apartment complex. They are hoping to recover a weapon.

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