By: Joe Strupp
The suspect in the killing of four in Atlanta was seized Saturday, but a little more than 24 hours earlier, at about about 9:15 a.m., Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Drew Jubera had just parked his car in a garage several blocks from the paper when he heard a woman screaming. He did not know that blocks away a man had just shot and killed a judge, a court reporter, and deputy and then escaped.
“I ran over to her and it turned out she had just been carjacked, and I helped get her to the parking garage offices and with the police,” Jubera told E&P, referring to the woman who also worked for the paper, but not in the editorial department.
“I left and started walking to the AJC, and I saw Don O’Briant and he was hurt and bleeding above his eye.”
Jubera said O’Briant, another reporter for the paper, told him he had just been carjacked in a different garage and the perpetrator had made off with O’Briant’s 1997 green Honda Accord. “He said a guy took his car, told him to get into the trunk, and threatened to kill him,” Jubera recounted. “Then he said the guy hit him with the gun or his fist, he wasn’t sure, and [O’Briant] ran away. When he ran, he fell and broke his wrist.”
Jubera said he took O’Briant to the same police officers who were aiding the woman and discovered it was the same person who likely committed both attacks. “It was clear it was the same guy,” Jubera said. “He has apparently been on a spree and everyone knows who he is. They know it was the same guy.”
O’Briant told the story himself to his newspaper from the emergency room at Atlanta Medical Center while getting stiches above his left eye, about 90 minutes after the carjacking happened:
“I had just parked my car in the parking lot behind the Chinese restarurant at the corner of Spring Street and Marietta Street and was going to work, a little after 9 a.m.,” the paper reported on its Web site.
“This person pulled in beside me, and I noticed that he had pulled into a handicapped spot,” O’Briant said. “He was a young, athletic looking black man, and he didn’t have a shirt on, but I figured he was probably in town for the basketball tournament.
“First he asked how to get to Lenox Square. Then he pulled a gun and said ‘Give me your keys or I’ll kill you!’
“I gave him the keys, and then he said ‘Get in the trunk.’ I said no. I thought maybe I was going to be killed, but I wasn’t going to get in the trunk.
“I turned to run, and that’s when he hit me in the head with his gun. I fell down, and I got up and ran into a garbage bin. I got up again and ran. I scrambled into the street, waiting for the shots to come, but they didn’t come. He must have been out of bullets, because he didn’t shoot me.
“I couldn’t see, because blood was coming out all over my eye. I went to the Chinese restaurant and banged on the door, but there was no one there, so I started out into Marietta Street, and that’s when I ran into co-worker Drew Jubera.”
Almeta Kilgo, 37, a computer programmer for the AJC, had her car stolen by Brian Nichols on Friday morning. She told the newspaper that on the way to work she saw a white tow truck, which Nichols had stolen, behind her, before she reached the fourth level a parking ramp. She said:
“I was backing into my parking place when I noticed the tow truck up there on the fourth level. It was confusing. Was I going to get a ticket for something? Was he towing somebody? Was he getting ready to ask directions?
“He pulled into a parking place across from me and jumped out of the tow truck as I was opening the car door. He came over, put a gun to my head, and told me to ‘move over.’
“I climbed over to the passenger side and he got in on the driver?s side. … He put my car in drive, and proceeded to go back down the ramp. … He said, ‘How do you get out of here? How do you get out of here?’
“He had to stop. There was nowhere to go. He said, ‘I tell you what — you get out and get in the trunk.’
“I started to run, screaming at the top of my lungs. Unfortunately, I fell. I was still screaming. He came up, put a gun to my head, and said, ‘Shut up. Shut up.’ He had the gun right in my face.
“I was still screaming. At that point, I might as well. If I was going to go out, I was going out screaming.
“For some reason, he turned around and went back to my car. I went over toward the elevator into the corner screaming. It took a long time for anybody to get out of car and see what was wrong with me.
“I think he took my car over to Centennial and carjacked Don [O?Briant]. It wasn?t too long before the police came and started asking me what happened. They went up to see the tow truck.
“And it wasn?t long after that, Don came walking over. They were talking to me and he walked in. He was covered with blood. We knew then that the guy had ditched my car and took his.”