A 70-year-old park ranger is expected to survive a gunshot wound to the abdomen, Gwinnett County police said Thursday afternoon. And he was able to lead investigators to his alleged attacker.
But it still wasn’t known what prompted a Cherokee County woman to shoot the man, then allegedly kill herself late Wednesday at Buford Dam Park on Lake Lanier.
D. P. Wright, 70, a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Park Ranger, was preparing to close the Lower Overlook area of the park around 10 p.m. when he noticed a woman sitting in a passenger car, Cpl. Jake Smith with Gwinnett police said.
“As he was driving through the parking lot in his marked park ranger pickup truck, he noticed a woman sitting in a passenger car,” Smith said in an emailed statement. “He approached the car to notify her that the park was closed. The woman produced a handgun and fired one shot, striking Wright in the abdomen.”
Wright, who did not have a weapon, was able to make his way to the entrance of the Lower Overlook area, secure the gate behind him and close off the only exit to prevent his attacker’s escape, Smith said. Wright then walked to Buford Dam Road, where a passing motorist stopped and called 911.
Wright was able to provide information to Gwinnett officers before he was transported to the hospital by ambulance. The Sugar Hill man underwent surgery and remained hospitalized Thursday, but is expected to recover, Smith said.
With information from Wright, investigators were able to locate the alleged shooter’s vehicle.
“They discovered the female occupant deceased inside, apparently from a gunshot wound,” Smith said. “The deceased woman matched the description of the suspect provided by Wright.”
Investigators believe the woman, Qiana Moore, 34, of Woodstock, committed suicide. A handgun was found inside her car, police said.
Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service employ rangers in the Buford Dam area, according to Rudy Evenson, park information officer for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
As an Army Corps of Engineers ranger, Wright did not carry a gun. Federal park rangers with the National Park Service do carry guns, wear vests, and are fully trained federal law enforcement officers, Evenson said.
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