3 ambush man at meetup with online date, steal his car, crash it, police say

Police investigated two crime scenes in one southeast Atlanta neighborhood Thursday morning.

A man was planning to meet a woman he contacted online when he was ambushed, robbed and shot in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood Thursday morning, police said.

Tony Keye’s three attackers and his date allegedly stole his car to make their getaway, but the joyride was short-lived. The crew crashed the car into a utility pole before they could leave the neighborhood.

The first call came in to Atlanta police about 5 a.m. when the unidentified shooting victim knocked on a woman’s door on Villa Circle, asking for help. While they were responding to that call, another came in about a car crash less than a mile away on Cologne Drive.

Both crime scenes are near Heritage Academy Elementary School. The investigation did not affect operations at the school, according to an Atlanta Public Schools spokesman.

Police said the woman waited outside a home in the 300 block of Blair Villa Drive and the men attacked when Keye pulled into the driveway. They stole his belongings and pistol-whipped him before they took his car keys, Atlanta police spokeswoman Officer Lisa Bender said.

“After the suspects took his phone and wallet, he heard gunshots and realized that he had been shot,” Bender said. “At this time the three males and the woman got into the victim’s vehicle and fled the location.”

Keye was shot twice, in the chest and in the wrist, she said. He is in stable condition, Bender confirmed.

After the incident, Keye ran to a neighbor’s house for help. The woman who reported the shooting said she woke up to the man’s shouts.

“He was just banging on the door, ringing the doorbell,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, told AJC.com.  “He was saying, ‘Please help! I've been shot.’”

By the time she realized what was happening and came to the window to see who it was, the man was running away, she said.

A man was shot twice Thursday morning, in the chest and in the wrist, in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood.  JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

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One street away on Cologne Drive, Johnnie Kate Ringer said a white sedan crashed outside her house. All the lights went out, and her children ran outside to investigate. They heard voices.

“My daughter and my nephew said they heard somebody talking and leaving, running away,” Ringer said. None of her family members saw the car’s occupants.

Neither woman knew two investigations were taking place in their neighborhood. The caller who reported the shooting said she wasn’t surprised.

“I’ve been living here all my life,” she said. “It’s not the most desirable neighborhood, but I mean, what can you do?”

Police are still looking for the assailants.

“Any persons found to be a party to the crime will be charged accordingly, the investigation is ongoing,” Bender said.

Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting Crime Stoppers' website.