Man killed in shootout between former couple in NW Atlanta, police say

Police are investigating a fatal shooting early Sunday in northwest Atlanta.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Police are investigating a fatal shooting early Sunday in northwest Atlanta.

A man was shot and killed early Sunday when he got involved in a dispute between a former couple in northwest Atlanta, leading to a shootout, authorities said.

Atlanta police were called just before 2 a.m. to Simpson Plaza in the 700 block of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. The plaza is home to a grocery store, a Chinese restaurant and a laundry service business.

When officers arrived, they found the man suffering from several gunshot wounds. Medical crews took him to the hospital, where he died, police said. He was identified as 43-year-old Harry Ponder by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

According to investigators, Ponder, of Atlanta, had noticed two people, a former couple, getting into a dispute at the plaza. After he got involved, police said, “gunfire erupted between the individuals,” and he was shot. On Monday, police classified the shooting as a homicide, though it’s still unclear if Ponder opened fire.

“The homicide detectives are still trying to determine the ballistics before confirming at this time,” police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The area is a short distance from Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City, a neighborhood that, along with English Avenue, has experienced a series of shootings in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Atlanta City Council members and neighborhood leaders gathered to demand change.

“The list goes on and on,” Shadé Yvonne Jones, chair of the local Neighborhood Planning Unit, said of the violence. “This is a daily problem.”

Dozens of people were at the park on Easter Sunday when gunfire erupted near the basketball courts, leaving a 3-year-old girl grazed by a bullet. A video released by police shows crowds sprinting away from the scene in a desperate attempt to take cover. Last Sunday, not far from the park, one man was killed and another injured in a shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Atlanta police said they were still investigating Sunday’s shooting at the plaza. No additional information was provided, including if the two other people allegedly involved in the shootout had been arrested.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.