A Stone Mountain security guard who fatally shot a southwest Atlanta teen last December but was not charged said he expected to see his name resurface once the Trayvon Martin case became entrenched in the headlines.
"I knew it was coming," said Christopher Hambrick, refuting allegations by the victim's family and attorney that he is a trigger-happy vigilante. "I knew people were going to say I was George Zimmerman and [Canard Arnold] was Trayvon Martin. But I'm not not Zimmerman and he's definitely not some innocent kid."
"This is nothing like Trayvon Martin," Hambrick said Wednesday.
Hambrick, 38, was taking a brief break from his job guarding Shamrock Gardens off Campbellton Road on Dec. 30, the night of Arnold's shooting, when he spotted an apparent robbery in progress.
As he approached the scene he said he noticed Arnold running away from a gunman in pursuit.
"My initial response was to help Canard Arnold," said Hambrick, still employed as an armed security guard and bounty hunter. But Arnold produced a weapon of his own and, the guard alleges, aimed it in his direction.
"Now I was in the middle of it," Hambrick said. "I was a sitting duck."
Arnold was shot in the back but police did not arrest Hambrick. A weapon that had been discharged four times was found near the deceased teen's body, Atlanta police said.
"At this time, it appears to us the actions of the security guard were justified," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said in a statement.
Charged instead, with felony murder, was Anthony Hines, 22, who police say was involved in the gunfight that precipitated Hambrick's involvement.
Arnold's family say they want Hambrick arrested for their son's murder. According to their lawyer, Chris Chestnut, the guard, “'like a predator, tracks [Arnold] down, shooting at him, ultimately fatally shooting him in the back."
Hambrick, who is white, had an adversarial relationship with young African-American males in the neighborhood, Chestnut said.
"The young people, they don't like me because I'd report them to police for dealing drugs, stealing, whatever," Hambrick said. "This is a high-crime area."
The guard said he is not racist, noting that his boss, Thomas Shepperson of Shepperson Security & Escort in Kennesaw, is African-American.
"If I was a racist I wouldn't be working for black guys, or working in black neighborhoods," he said.
Brent Sobol, who owns and manages the Shamrock Gardens complex, said Hambrick cared about "everyone's well-being."
"I thought he was a good guy," Sobol said. "I've heard many people compliment me about the work that he's done."
Sobol said armed security guards are a must for his complex, located in "the highest crime area in the city."
Hambrick no longer works at Shamrock Gardens, said Sobol, because of fears for the guard's safety.
"If I had another property I would hire him," he said.
Meanwhile, Arnold's parents say they may pursue civil litigation against Hambrick. His former boss is already under investigation by a state oversight board following the March 24 shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old by a security guard. Curtis Scott, 25, also employed by Shepperson, has not been charged in the fatal shooting of Ervin Jefferson but police are still investigating.
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