Two men dead in apparent murder-suicide in Kennesaw
by Haisten Willis
April 19, 2014 04:26 PM | 15864 views | 3 3 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officers respond to the scene of a murder outside Town Center Mall early Saturday morning. The gunman, later identified as Richard Holcomb, shot a mall security guard before driving to a nearby Kroger and allegedly shooting himself. Both the victim and shooter died at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.<br>Special to the MDJ/Catt Avery
Officers respond to the scene of a murder outside Town Center Mall early Saturday morning. The gunman, later identified as Richard Holcomb, shot a mall security guard before driving to a nearby Kroger and allegedly shooting himself. Both the victim and shooter died at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.
Special to the MDJ/Catt Avery
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KENNESAW — Cobb police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide that took place early Saturday morning in Kennesaw.

According to the Cobb County Police Department, officers received a 911 call about a person being shot outside Kennesaw’s Town Center Mall. Arriving at the scene, they found 23-year-old Zakeem Berry of Kennesaw lying in the road on George Busbee Parkway. Berry was found not far from Red Lobster, but Public Information Officer Mike Bowman said he had been at the restaurant that night.

“Red Lobster is not involved, it’s just in the area,” Bowman said.

Berry was transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, where he died from his wound.

Witnesses said Berry was a mall security guard and was on-duty at the time. Police say the gunman asked Berry for directions but then shot him in the face at the corner of Busbee Parkway and Ring Road, which circles the mall.

Catt Avery had just gotten off work at Red Lobster and was with a co-worker at Highlands, a restaurant across the street. She didn’t hear the gunshot but noticed a flurry of police and ambulance activity. Red Lobster had been closed for more than an hour but some staff were still cleaning up and assisted officers at the scene.

“No one was out because it was so late,” she said.

At first, Avery thought it might have been a car accident because the security vehicle was still at the intersection. She heard someone say, “Help me get this man into my car” in an attempt to get him to the hospital not long after the shooting.

“I’m so sorry for the family,” Avery said.

Avery said the gunman drove off and didn’t shoot himself until he drove to the Kroger on Cherokee Street.

The suspect, 23-year-old Richard Holcomb of Rydal, was later found at the store, about 5 miles away. Police said he had an self-inflicted gunshot wound and also died after being transported to Kennestone. It is unclear if he shot himself inside the store or in the parking lot.

Officers did not release any other information about the incident or the circumstances involved.

“I don’t know that they knew each other and have no idea about criminal histories,” Bowman said. “None whatsoever.”

The mall issued a statement about Berry’s death Saturday afternoon.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event,” reads the release. “Our sincere condolences go out to the family of the security officer involved in this incident. Mall management is working closely with the Cobb County Police to share any details that may assist in the investigation of this senseless crime that is extremely shocking to all of us.”

Anyone with information is asked to call (770) 499-3945.

Comments
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Curiouser
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July 12, 2014
"Police say the gunman asked Berry for directions but then shot him in the face at the corner of Busbee Parkway and Ring Road, which circles the mall."

How did police reach this conclusion? Was this their conclusion from witness statements? Did anyone see Holcomb shoot Berry or even talk with him? Was Berry wearing a radio that was transmitting to a mall dispatch center? How?

How did they reach the conclusion that Holcomb's death was a suicide?

Were Berry and Holcomb acquainted? If its true that Holcomb asked Berry for directions first, then it suggests they were not. If not, what possible motive was there for murder?

Mr. Willis, please investigate more. Pry a little. Its your responsibility as a journalist.
anonymous
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April 19, 2014
This is one of the lamest pieces of journalism--if I can use that word--I have ever read. Despite four references to Red Lobster, the writer cites a Cobb authority as saying that "Red Lobster is not involved, it's just in the area." Neither the victim nor the assailant had been in the restaurant prior to the crime. The fact that a witness commenting on the crime works at Red Lobster and that the restaurant had been closed for an hour before the assault is completely irrelevant to the story. And yet, the restaurant is referred to repeatedly. The writer of this article has given a significant amount of free publicity to the chain restaurant, good old Red Lobster. How bizarre.
anonymous
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April 20, 2014
So what if it's a "chain restaurant" and why do you care about the publicity? Is your concern for the article or due to some political bias about evil corporate owned chain restaurants?
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