Travis McFarland is wanted in connection with the shooting death of James Jake Ponder.
Photo: LaGrange Police Department
Photo: LaGrange Police Department

Man fatally shot after arranging to buy gun; teen wanted

New details released Tuesday suggest a man was shot and killed after arranging to purchase a gun from someone. 

Authorities initially said the victim, identified as James Jake Ponder, was fatally shot Saturday night in LaGrange after offering a ride to strangers.

A friend of Ponder’s told police they stopped to pick up two unknown men on Troup Street. As they were driving, at least one of the passengers pulled out a gun and attempted to rob Ponder, LaGrange police said. 

Ponder was shot, and the two men ran away, the friend told investigators. 

However, “the investigation revealed that the victim, Ponder, had communicated with individuals regarding the purchase of a firearm on the night of the incident, and that he was in the area of Troup Street to meet and complete the purchase when the attempted robbery and shooting occurred,” police said Tuesday in a news release.

Ponder’s friend drove him to WellStar West Georgia Medical Center to get help. Police were called when they showed up at the emergency room around 8:20 p.m. 

Police later identified 17-year-old Travis McFarland of LaGrange as a suspect in Ponder’s death. He is wanted on charges of murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. 

Anyone with information on McFarland’s whereabouts is asked to contact the LaGrange Police Department at 706-833-2603 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000. Tips can also be submitted through the LaGrange Police Department's Facebook page.

In other news: 

At Centennial High School, someone painted swastikas on the school and some buses.

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