‘Raj died a hero’: Beloved Cobb attorney fatally shot after confronting gunman

Cobb County Magistrate Court employees are mourning the loss of their senior staff attorney who was shot and killed Saturday morning while confronting a gunman outside a home in Locust Grove.

Police said Rajesh Mehta, 45, was shot multiple times by 29-year-old Terrance Scott outside the home on Hansen Drive.

Following the fatal shooting, Scott allegedly broke into the house, held a woman hostage and sexually assaulted her before an hourslong standoff with officers, Locust Grove Police Chief Jesse Patton said. Children were inside the home at the time.

Credit: Henry County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Henry County Sheriff's Office

RELATED: 1 man dead, another in custody after standoff in Locust Grove

It’s unclear how Mehta became involved in the situation, but authorities believe he drove Scott to the home about 6 a.m.

“I’m told they met in Atlanta and he drove him down,” Patton said. “The driver was shot at the back door of the house before the suspect entered the home ... It appears that Mehta may have tried to stop Scott from entering the house because of his anger towards the victim.”

An Uber spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that Mehta had a part-time job delivering food for Uber Eats, but said he wasn’t actively driving for the company at the time of the fatal shooting.

It’s unclear if he may have also driven for a similar food delivery service, but Henry County prosecutors said he had no connection to the home itself.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

“He was a beloved figure at the Cobb County courthouse,” Cobb Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan Murphy said Tuesday. “He was very well known by all the judges, defense lawyers and prosecutors.”

Mehta worked as the staff attorney for three separate chief magistrate judges since joining the court in 2008. Prior to that, the University of Georgia law school graduate worked under Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark.

“It was very shocking to find out,” said Murphy, who didn’t learn about the death until Monday afternoon when Mehta’s mother and sister went to the courthouse to tell his colleagues.

“Raj was a helper. That’s why he was beloved,” Murphy said. “He would drop anything to help anyone, and he died how he lived ... Raj died a hero, and that doesn’t surprise anybody here.”

Scott was denied bond Tuesday morning in Henry County. Murphy and several of Mehta’s colleagues watched the live stream, eager to find out what happened to their friend.

“Raj did not know these people at all,” Murphy said. “He was forced to drive the defendant to this house. When the defendant got out to go kill (the woman) and potentially (the children), Raj intervened.”

During the struggle outside the back door, Mehta was able to disarm Scott, police said. A .40-caliber pistol was found in the bushes near the staff attorney’s body.

According to Scott’s arrest warrant, he kicked in the door after shooting Mehta and then took the woman hostage, beating and raping her at knifepoint. The children managed to escape when officers entered the home, Patton said, but Scott refused to release the woman.

“Scott made verbal threats to kill his hostage if police did not leave,” he said.

The 2½-hour standoff came to an end about 9 a.m. when Scott attempted to leave the home and escape police, investigators said.

He faces seven felonies in connection with the incident, including murder, burglary, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and aggravated assault, Henry County records show.

Credit: Cobb County Magistrate Court

Credit: Cobb County Magistrate Court

News of the fatal shooting left Mehta’s colleagues reeling, devastated they won’t get to see his smiling face in the halls of the Cobb courthouse.

“Raj was a big part of this court and judicial circuit,” Court Administrator Tahnicia Phillips said. “He has always been like a brother to me and I can’t imagine working every day without him ... He died a hero trying to save someone he didn’t even know. I loved him and I am going to miss my friend.”

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