Police release sketch of suspect in killing of Georgia gas station clerk

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has released a sketch of the suspect wanted in the slaying of a gas station clerk at a RaceTrac outside Watkinsville more than four months ago. The mysterious gunman has been at large since March 19, when 23-year-old Elijah James Wood was shot to death at the store on Hog Mountain Road.

Credit: Oconee County Sheriff’s Office

Credit: Oconee County Sheriff’s Office

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has released a sketch of the suspect wanted in the slaying of a gas station clerk at a RaceTrac outside Watkinsville more than four months ago. The mysterious gunman has been at large since March 19, when 23-year-old Elijah James Wood was shot to death at the store on Hog Mountain Road.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has released a sketch of the suspect wanted in the slaying of a gas station clerk at a RaceTrac outside Watkinsville more than four months ago.

The mysterious gunman has been at large since March 19, when 23-year-old Elijah James Wood was shot to death at the store on Hog Mountain Road.

Sheriff’s officials said they consider the suspect to be armed and dangerous, according to WSB.

A forensic artist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation used surveillance footage and a photo of the suspect to produce the sketch.

The sketch was only “an approximation of the likeness of the suspect and not an exact picture of the suspect,” police officials said, according to WSB.

Last month, the reward being offered for an arrest and conviction in the case doubled to $50,000 thanks to contributions from the FBI, RaceTrac, local police and county officials.

Wood had been working alone on the graveyard shift when a customer found him dead behind the checkout counter about 2 a.m. and called authorities.

Deputies who responded administered CPR but were unable to revive Wood.

The man’s killer, who walked with a peculiar gait, was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras wearing a black ninja-like mask and hood with a drawstring pulled tight to his head. He also wore gloves, long sleeves, slacks and boots.

The man’s killer, who walked with a peculiar gait, was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras wearing a black ninja-like mask and hood with a drawstring pulled tight to his head. He also wore gloves, long sleeves, slacks and boots.

Credit: Courtesy FBI Atlanta

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy FBI Atlanta

The suspect’s disguise exposed only his eyes and nose, but not many of his other features were identifiable.

Video shows the subject running back and forth throughout the store before eventually leaving the scene.

Investigators have examined the footage looking for clues to the killer’s identity but have been unsuccessful, said Oconee County Sheriff James Hale.

Police have not revealed the full circumstances of the shooting or whether Wood had confronted the suspect in any way.

Hale said it’s likely that someone close to the shooter knows who killed the man. Authorities hope the reward will persuade someone to step forward.

“We believe it’s going to take a good amount of reward to be able to get someone caught,” Tripp Lemmonds, Wood’s brother-in-law, told the Athens Banner-Herald.

A GoFundMe page has raised thousands of dollars for Wood’s family.

Wood was killed just a week shy of his 24th birthday, which he shared with a twin sister.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Zach Eaton at 706-769-3945 or email zeaton@oconeesheriff.org. The FBI in Atlanta can be reached at 770-216-3000, or @oconeelaw at 706-769-5665 or go to http://tips.fbi.gov.

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