Mark Dacosta
Photo: DeKalb County jail
Photo: DeKalb County jail

Ex-deputy charged with shooting teen at DeKalb liquor store

In a bizarre liquor-store shooting case, DeKalb County police have charged a former Walton County deputy with impersonating an officer, tampering with evidence and shooting a 19-year-old with a shotgun.

Mark Dacosta was arrested over the weekend at his Loganville home, Walton Sheriff Joe Chapman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“He was a good deputy,” Chapman said, though the sheriff had concerns about events at the liquor store.

The shooting happened around midnight Feb. 12 at US-1 Package on Wesley Chapel Road in unincorporated Decatur. There was confusion after the shooting as police tried to figure out who fired and why.

Police now believe Dacosta, who had worked as a jailer in Walton, is a friend of the liquor store owner and got into a confrontation with some young men who were at the business. Initially, police described Dacosta as a current deputy, which is how he allegedly presented himself, though it turned out he had recently resigned, according to arrest warrants. The warrants did not provide information about why Dacosta left his job in Walton County.

But the sheriff, who has more than 200 staff members, said he wasn’t aware that Dacosta had quit until after word spread of the shooting.

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It’s still unclear whether Dacosta was the only shooter. Warrants released Wednesday only accuse him of shooting the teen, but the store’s owner, 46, and a bystander, 47, were also shot. All survived. 

DeKalb police haven’t said how exactly Dacosta is accused of tampering with evidence. They declined to reveal why he allegedly claimed he was still a deputy.

Dacosta is out on bond, jail records show. A message left at a listed number for him wasn’t returned. 

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Many drivers affected said they think the gas station should pay for the damages done.

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