The fatal shooting of Manju Gurung Poonmager, 37, occurred at about 1:20 a.m. at Westminster Square Apartments at 2401 Windy Hill Road off Cobb Parkway.
Poonmagar, 37, was driving home from work at a local convenience store when she entered the gated apartment complex and was shot to death while still behind the wheel of her car. She was found dead by police slumped over in her car, after a resident of the complex heard her vehicle crash into a parked car and called 911.
Police arrested and charged 26-year-old Sergio Vera-Lule of Smyrna on Thursday. He is being held at the Cobb County jail without bond, and is charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Police also charged Vera-Lule with three counts of armed robbery in connection to robberies reported at the Molina’s Check Cashing on Dec. 28, Concorde Superette on Dec. 29 and Western Union on Jan. 8, all of which are in Marietta.
Vera-Lule knew Poonmagar, police have confirmed, and the shooting was not random.
“Yes, he did know her,” responded Sgt. Dana Pierce of Cobb Police when asked about the relationship between the victim and the suspect. “It was a whodunit until yesterday (Thursday) morning. It all came together. This was not just a random act of violence. You don’t have people riding by shooting people in the head. It clears up those robberies and solves that homicide, putting those people at ease out there in that community.
“This guy’s nothing but a street thug and he took it a step too far and killed this woman.”
Pierce would not say how Poonmagar would have known her killer, or if she worked at one of the stores he is accused of robbing.
Pierce credited “great detective work” for cracking the case.
Poonmagar was a native of Nepal who lived with her husband at Westminster Square.
Her death was one of six homicides reported in the last six weeks of 2013 in Cobb County.
Now that police have made an arrest in Poonmagar’s killing, there is one that remains unsolved, that of Juanita Calvert, an 86-year-old blind woman whose body was found in her Aviation Road home by a caregiver on Dec. 17. She was shot to death. Marietta Police are still investigating Calvert’s death and have not named any suspects.