Police: Truck connected to shooting had half a ton of marijuana

A police report describes pandemonium at the shopping center, with several vehicle crashes and bullets flying.   Police collected 11 shell casings at the shopping center, and officers later collected a twelfth casing a mile away, on a street in Candler Park. Residents there reported that a Penske truck was involved in shots fired at the intersection of Oakdale Road and Miller Street. Farther away, residents in Druid Hills told police that they saw a Penske truck stopped on Lullwater Road.

They snapped pictures of a man unloading boxes from the truck "as if stashing items so he could return later."  The man in the photos matches the description of the shooting suspect provided by witness at the shopping center, the police report said.

The Edgewood Retail District is usually packed with cars and shoppers, and Sunday was no exception.

People were going about their business, getting haircuts or buying groceries, when the Penske truck came bashing into the center around 4 p.m., hitting cars and apparently dodging bullets. Witnesses told police they saw a lone shooter standing in the street and at least two other vehicles, including a silver Mercedes, that seemed to be involved. They disappeared as quickly as they had appeared, leaving shell casings and damaged cars. Police later found the Penske over a mile away, loaded with marijuana.

One man, whom police described as an innocent bystander, was shot amidst the chaos. Seth Kroop, 30, was idling outside the shopping center on Moreland Avenue when a bullet punched through his Toyota Matrix and pierced his back, the Atlanta Police Department report said.

Kroop was lucky. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital but required minor treatment and was released, hospital spokesperson Denise Simpson said.

His car wasn't the only one hit by a bullet. The rear window of one vehicle was shot out and a stray round struck another in the hood, the police report said.

At least two witness reported seeing a man with a gun. He "was firing an automatic pistol and was on foot," the police report said. "After shooting, he just walked off calmly."

Police previously had said the silver Mercedes was involved in the shooting. Witnesses saw that vehicle but also told police of an SUV or PT Cruiser that they thought was involved, and of a white Dodge Magnum or Charger. The Dodge struck one witness's vehicle as it sped off.

Police later recovered the Penske truck behind a church at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Oakdale Road. It contained 52 boxes of marijuana weighing about 24 pounds apiece.

Papers inside the truck indicated it was rented Sunday by an Atlanta man named Tanqueray Clark, the police report said.

"It is believed the Penske truck and silver Mercedes occupants were acting in concert and may have either been transporting the marijuana or were about to conduct a transaction, and somehow, the white Dodge/Chrysler vehicle became involved," said the police report, which was authored by Ofc. Rebecca Bandy.

Police have said they impounded the Mercedes and arrested the driver.  Rashad Turner was charged with assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless conduct and criminal damage to property, said Ofc. Eric Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department.

Schwartz said the Penske truck contained 1,161 pounds of marijuana. It is unclear whether anyone else is in custody. Late Sunday, Schwartz said police had detained two "persons of interest" for questioning in connection with the incident.

On Monday, Schwartz released photographs of a man removing marijuana from the truck and asked the public to help identify him.

Anyone with information can relay it to authorities by calling Atlanta Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.

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