‘How could you be that callous?’ Family grieves veteran shot to death on I-285

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

He was the little brother who grew much taller than his big sister. He served his country for eight years in the U.S. Navy. And Daniel Booth could make a mean shrimp alfredo from scratch, his sister said.

Booth had a big heart and wanted to take care of his family and friends. When he didn’t answer his phone last week while on the way to a job, his boss and friend knew immediately something was wrong.

“He always answered the phone,” Booth’s sister, Britney Hite, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Later, the family would see Booth’s truck in a news broadcast and began piecing together his final moments. While driving on I-285 in DeKalb County for a job, Booth had been shot. He crashed his truck into a median, pushing his body into the floorboard. He died before he could be rescued, according to a DeKalb County police report.

It was the latest shooting death on metro Atlanta’s interstates and roadways, crimes authorities often blame on road rage. According to the online Gun Violence Archive that tracks shootings, 15 shootings in Georgia this year have been attributed to road rage. The majority have been in metro Atlanta. In 2021, 25 shootings on state roads were attributed to road rage, according to the archive.

Less than three weeks before Booth was shot, two people were injured in a shooting on the Downtown Connector in what Atlanta investigators say was road rage. Though not all shootings on roadways are deadly, law enforcement agencies warn of the potential harm to countless innocent people when anger leads to gunfire.

Booth’s family suspects road rage led to his shooting death, too.

“How could you be that callous with another person’s life?” Hite said.

Hite said her brother wasn’t the type to intentionally anger other drivers and thinks it is possible Booth may not have even known the reason he was targeted.

“I don’t understand why this happened,” she said. “I don’t think we’ll ever know the real reason why. I just hope that the person who did this has it in their heart to do the right thing.”

The crash happened on Oct. 11 on I-285 west at I-675, temporarily closing all lanes in the area, according to police. No suspects have been named. Investigators have asked the public to help identify the owner of a car in a photo they posted to social media: a four-door sedan with a sticker in the center of its rear windshield.

Two other drivers told investigators they saw Booth’s truck stopped on I-285, but did not witness the shooting, the police report states.

Hite said she and Booth grew up in Paulding County. After graduating from Paulding County High School in 2000, Booth enlisted in the Navy. After serving eight years, he moved to Arkansas to be near other family members. He had returned to Georgia about a year ago, working with a friend’s construction company. It was a job that suited Booth, always a handyman, his sister said.

“I feel like people are running around with guns like they’re toys,” Hite said. “They don’t understand the true impact of shooting and killing another person. It has a true ripple effect in that person’s life and in theirs, as well.”

Funeral arrangements are pending for Booth, who is survived by a 17-year-old daughter. He is also survived by his mother, stepfather, and several nieces and nephews. Hite said she’ll miss her brother at the Sunday dinners she hosts weekly at her home.

“He brought a peace to me,” Hite said. “It was just him and I, forever and a day. And for him not to be here is hard.”

Anyone with information on the crash and shooting is asked to contact the DeKalb police department’s homicide unit at 770-724-7850.