Athens man shot in head at westside apartment complex, suspect in custody


Douglas J. Merritt

By Joe Johnson

An argument at a westside Athens apartment complex early Wednesday reportedly escalated to a shooting in which a man was shot in the head

The alleged shooter was located in an apartment at the University Oaks complex off West Broad Street.

According to Lt. Shaun Barnett, public information officer for the Athens-Clarke County police Department, officers responded to a report of gunshots being fired in the area of University

Oaks shortly after 4 a.m.

While at the scene, officers learned that a man had arrived at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, Barnett said.

Investigators subsequently determined that the 28-year-old Burkland Drive resident and his younger brother had been involved in an argument with Douglas J. Merritt in a parking lot at University Oaks, according to Barnett.

“Both victims started to leave in a vehicle and as they drove away, Merritt fired into the vehicle,” shooting the older brother in the head, according to Barnett who said the younger man immediately drove his injured brother to the hospital.

Both men identified Merritt as the shooter, and he was arrested at a University Oaks apartment and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

He was being held at the county in lieu of a $10,000 bond on the gun charge, but no bail was det for the assault charges.

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