Yaya Gil (left), George Vela
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Cobb woman watched boyfriend die after he confronted burglar near their home

A Cobb County family returned home from seeing “The Lion King” to find their home had been broken into.

After police took a report and left, the father of two spotted a suspicious vehicle parked near their home. That discovery got him shot and killed.

George Anthony Vela, 24, died in front of his girlfriend and high school sweetheart, Yaya Gil, about 1 a.m. Monday, Channel 2 Action News reported. Police are still searching for the suspect who stole his stuff before killing him.

“I hope you know the damage you’ve caused, and we’ll find you,” Gil told Channel 2.

Police responded to the burglary call, filled out an incident report and left about 10 minutes before Vela spotted the car, which was parked near their Hickory Trail home in Mableton, the news station reported. Vela went to check it out and found his shoes, clothes and items that he sells online in the car.

When he confronted the driver, gunfire erupted, Channel 2 reported.

“I hear somebody say, ‘Get out of the car,’” Gil said. “He’s ducking down like something is wrong. At this point, I’m just trying to get to him. And then it’s just shot and shot after shot.”

Vela died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds before authorities arrived, Cobb police said.

“I just held him, and I already knew,” Gil told the news station.

Gil said she believes the home was targeted because the thief knew they sold items online frequently.

“Whoever did this ... they saw kids’ toys,” she said. “They saw it was a family home.”


Vela’s mother was inside the couple’s home with their kids, and she told the news station she ran outside after hearing the gunshots.

“Were they going to come back and rob him again? Did they think they missed something? Were they going to kill the whole family?” Leigh Ann Smith said.

No description of the suspect was provided, but police said a witness spotted a silver sedan with a rear spoiler leaving the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cobb police at 770-499-3945.

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