Suspect, victim ID’d in deadly gas station shooting recorded on Snapchat

A deadly shooting that sent customers at a Hall County gas station running for cover was recorded on Snapchat.

A witness inside his car at the QuikTrip on Gainesville Highway off I-985 started recording to the cellphone app after seeing two vehicles peel into the parking lot around 1:15 a.m. Sunday. The camera was rolling when authorities said one man got out and fired several rounds into the other car parked near the convenience store.

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After a woman jumped out of the driver’s seat, the video showed the gunman open the passenger door and fire at least six more shots, Channel 2 Action News reported. Hall County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Scott Ware said the man, identified as 36-year-old Chester Morrison of Commerce, knew his shooter.

Morrison and the driver were chased from the Buford area into the QuikTrip by James Elliot Blocksom, 23, of Canton, Ware said. When they pulled in, Blocksom allegedly shot Morrison multiple times. 

James Elliot Blocksom
Photo: Hall County Sheriff's Office

Morrison was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A woman said her son ran and hid in a cooler when the shooting started. She asked not to be identified. 

“He said he was standing at the counter and he heard shots,” the woman said. “That’s when they ran back to the cooler. At that point is when the girl came running in from the vehicle, screaming, ‘Help! Help!’”

Blocksom was gone by the time deputies arrived, but the driver was able to identify him, Ware said. He was arrested at his home in Canton and charged with murder. 

“The female was cooperative with deputies and investigators and was able to assist very quickly with details regarding Blocksom’s identity, place of residency and vehicle description,” Ware said. 

During a search of the home, authorities also recovered the handgun they believe was used in the shooting.

The incident is the latest in a rash of violent crimes in Hall County. Over the past five weeks, there have been four other incidents of gun violence in the city of Gainesville alone. Two of those incidents were fatal, Gainesville police Chief Jay Parrish said. 

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“We understand your alarm and concern for your safety in this city,” Parrish said in a video uploaded Friday to the department’s Facebook page. “We know that random acts of violence are not the norm for Gainesville, Georgia.”

On Thursday, prominent businessman and philanthropist Jack Hough, 73, was fatally shot while waiting for his wife outside a CVS off Park Hill Drive. Police arrested a suspect, 24-year-old DeMarvin Bennett, early Sunday morning. 

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With Bennett’s arrest, Gainesville police have closed three of the four open cases in that city. An arrest has not been made in a Jan. 19 homicide on Desota Street. Parrish said Friday investigators are working “around the clock.”

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