Driver shot during dispute with group selling water in Atlanta, police say

A man was shot in the hand in Atlanta on Thursday following a dispute with a group of minors selling bottled water on an I-20 exit ramp.

Credit: Georgia Department of Transportation

Credit: Georgia Department of Transportation

A man was shot in the hand in Atlanta on Thursday following a dispute with a group of minors selling bottled water on an I-20 exit ramp.

A driver was shot twice Thursday afternoon following a dispute with a group of juveniles selling bottled water in Atlanta, police said.

The incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. on the exit ramp to Lee Street from the westbound lanes of I-20, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant said.

“(The) preliminary investigation indicates a dispute occurred between the victim and a group of juvenile males selling water on the exit ramp,” Grant said. “When the victim attempted to drive away from the males, one of them discharged a firearm into his vehicle.”

The man was struck twice, once in the hand and once in the leg. He declined medical attention at the scene, but later showed up at a gas station on Northside Drive and asked for help, police said.

It’s unclear exactly how many shots were fired, and no arrests have been made in the case.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

In a separate incident that occurred later Thursday afternoon, officers were flagged down at the intersection of Peachtree Drive and Piedmont Road in Buckhead after a driver reported seeing someone with a handgun, police said. Officers detained a juvenile near the roadway and found a gun while searching him.

“At this time, it appears the juvenile was selling water at the intersection and when a driver refused to purchase any water, the juvenile flashed his handgun,” Atlanta police said in a statement. “A witness who observed this occurring flagged down police.”

The driver involved in that dispute declined to cooperate with officers. The juvenile was charged with pedestrian in roadway, possession of a firearm by a minor, misdemeanor marijuana possession and littering before being released to a family member.

Thursday’s incidents are the latest in a string of violent encounters involving teens selling water to motorists on Atlanta’s roadways.

An 18-year-old was shot and killed late last month during an altercation in Midtown. Surveillance footage from the scene indicated the victim may have been with a group of teens selling water just before he was shot multiple times, police said.

Earlier this month, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order creating an advisory council tasked with developing strategies to help promote youth entrepreneurship in the city.

“Our youth, including those who take to the streets to sell water and other goods, have shown us how productive and capable they can be as up-and-coming entrepreneurs,” Bottoms said.

The advisory council, which includes residents, business leaders, nonprofits and faith-based organizations, is expected to report its findings to Bottoms on Friday.

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