Search continues for murder suspect as Lenox Square reopens

FILE: Main entrance of Lenox Square in Buckhead (Alyssa Pointer/alyssa.pointer@ajc.com)

More than seven weeks after an arrest warrant was issued, the search continued Monday for the man accused in a fatal shooting outside Lenox Square.

And with most metro malls reopening this week, Atlanta police hope the string of shootings at the Buckhead shopping center have ended. Atlanta Police Department officials and mall leaders met before the reopening to discuss security plans, a police spokesman said.

“We anticipate this will be a joint effort with their private security team, along with the assistance of some of our off-duty officers hired by the mall to work on site,” APD said in an emailed statement. “Additionally, our on-duty Zone 2 units will be providing additional patrols, as needed.”

From December to March, four shootings took place outside Lenox, ending with a deadly incident on March 8. That’s when investigators believe a Tennessee man was killed following a dispute over a parking space. Thuan Nguyen, 31, was shot in the head, according to police.

Four days later, Ricky James Lafargue was charged with Nguyen’s murder, police said. But Lafargue, 19, was not in custody Monday afternoon.

Atlanta police are searching for Ricky James Lafargue, who has been charged with murder following a shooting outside Lenox Square. (Photo: Atlanta police)

The string of shootings prompted Simon Malls, which operates Lenox, and APD — which has a precinct at the mall — to increase security measures.

APD Chief Erika Shields has called the brazen violence deeply concerning. “We will not, under any circumstances, allow lawlessness to destroy one of Atlanta’s most beloved and long-standing retail institutions,” Shields said.

Arrests have been made in the first three shooting incidents.

But the coronavirus outbreak closed Lenox and other malls in mid-March through April. Though the malls have reopened, not all retailers have opened.

Employees must self-screen before returning to work.

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