Midtown shooting witness: ‘He was looking directly at me’

A woman was shot and killed Monday morning on Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. (Photo: JOHN SPINK /jspink@ajc.com)

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A woman was shot and killed Monday morning on Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. (Photo: JOHN SPINK /jspink@ajc.com)

There was no argument or even conversation between a gunman and the woman he allegedly killed Monday in a Midtown crosswalk, according to police. But the shooting was not random, Atlanta police said.

“At this point in time, we definitely believe that she was the target,” Lt. Ricardo Vazquez said. “Why she was the target, we do not know that yet.”

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Channel 2's Chris Jose reports.

The woman, identified late Monday as Trinh Huynh, was shot as she walked on Peachtree Place at the intersection with Peachtree Street around 7:40 a.m. Huynh, 40, died from her injuries after being taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

Surveillance cameras captured the suspect, and investigators hope those images will help identify him, Vazquez said Monday afternoon. One Atlanta man, who identified himself as Jason Andrews, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he'll never forget the face of the man suspected in the shooting.

He knew he’d heard gunshots, but Andrews couldn’t believe what he was seeing Monday morning after leaving his Midtown condo. As he was stopped at a red light, Andrews watched as a man and woman walked toward a MARTA station.

“All of a sudden, I hear three gunshots from what sounds like a pistol, and she falls to her knees,” Andrews said.

The man was still holding the gun when he made eye contact with Andrews, who was heading to work with a friend.

“He was looking directly at me,” Andrews said Monday afternoon. “It’s kinda pierced in my brain, just him looking at me.”

Panicked, Andrews and his passenger slouched down inside his SUV, stopped at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Peachtree Place, as the suspect approached.

“When I was ducking in my car, I was 100 percent sure that he was going to shoot us through the windshield,” Andrews said.

As the man ran from the intersection, the injured woman also looked at him, and Andrews realized his was the only car stopped at the intersection. Andrews could tell by her face that she needed help. Fearing for his own safety, he drove through the red light and called 911. Police and paramedics were already on the way when Andrews told an operator what he’d seen.

Investigators temporarily closed Peachtree Street between 7th and 10th Streets, but the alleged shooter was not found. Surveillance cameras captured the suspect approaching the woman and leaving the area, Vazquez said. Detectives were reviewing those videos for clues and released the images during an afternoon press conference.

“It (surveillance footage) shows that he was very calm before the shooting incident,” Vazquez said. “And then, even though he runs after the shooting incident, he again slows down and just starts to walk away.”

The suspect was last seen near Juniper and 8th streets, according to Vazquez.

“It wasn’t a big effort to get away,” Vazquez said. “He wanted to kind of seamlessly blend in to whatever was going on at that time of the morning.”

Andrews said he wished he could have helped the woman, but he was fearful for his own life.

“It’s kind of a punch in the gut to know that she died and that she was looking at me before she died,” he said.

Huynh lived about a block from where she was shot and worked as an attorney, according to address records and the Georgia Bar Association directory.

Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact Atlanta police.