‘He tried to murder me’: 911 calls released in Duluth gun store shooting

Nature of dispute between store owner, employee remains murky
Duluth police are investigating a shooting at a gun store Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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Duluth police are investigating a shooting at a gun store Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Recordings of two 911 calls and an incident report released by police paint a detailed picture of the aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting inside a Gwinnett County gun store, but the circumstances leading up to the gunfire remain unclear.

The shooting took place after a dispute at Gun Lobby in Duluth between the store’s owner and an employee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. In a 911 call released Friday, store employee John August immediately told the dispatcher, “Someone just tried to murder me.”

In a separate 911 call made minutes earlier, another store employee said the owner, Chuck Collins, had been shot twice and was breathing but “semi-conscious.” The employee said he was applying pressure to the gunshot wound on Collins’ side as an ambulance arrived.

Collins did not speak on the 911 call and Duluth police have not released further information about his health status. According to Duluth police spokesman Officer Ted Sadowski, it has not been determined if criminal charges will be filed.

In the 911 audio, August, 55, said he shot Collins, 56, because he feared for his life.

“You’re the one that fired the shot?” the 911 dispatcher asked August.

“I had to. He tried to murder me,” August replied.

When asked how Collins tried to murder him, August said the two had been involved in a “verbal argument” and that Collins had “grabbed his gun.” Both men were carrying handguns at the time of the incident.

August told the dispatcher that he suffered from an anxiety disorder and that Collins had screamed at him before the shooting. He then said he did not feel well and requested an ambulance, which the dispatcher sent. Once police made contact with him, the 911 dispatcher disconnected.

While emergency medical personnel were treating Collins and moving him from inside the store, responding police officers found August behind the strip mall sitting on the ground and leaning against the store’s back wall. He said he was having chest pains and felt he might be having a heart attack, the incident report said.

Though he was not questioned, according to the report, August told the officers, “I thought he was trying to kill me,” then later added, “All over a few dollars.”

Collins was taken to Northside Hospital Gwinnett, while August was taken to Northside Hospital Duluth, according to the incident report.

Further details will be released once police determine whether criminal charges will be filed, Sadowski said.

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

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