By Joe Johnson
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is investigating the death of an Athens man who on Sunday was found fatally shot in a rental car on a street in Winterville.
According to a police incident report, officers responded at about 4:30 a.m. to a report of a suspicious vehicle on the side of the road in the 100 block of Windfall Drive.
Upon arrival officers found a silver Nissan Rogue that was backed up into a tree with the engine running and a male covered with blood in the driver’s seat, the report noted.
After smashing out one of the car's windows the officer confirmed that the male was deceased. A small handgun was found in the driver's door compartment, according to the report.
The man was tentatively identified through documentation found in the vehicle as Lekendric Durante Cooper, 29, of U.S. Highway 29 North. Cooper was subsequently positively identified as the victim, said Capt. Christopher Nichols, commanding officer of the Criminal Investigations Division.
“We have no indication that foul play was involved at this time,” Nichols said on Tuesday. “We believe the gun may have fallen (into the door compartment) after the shot.”
The officer said that Cooper’s body was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Crime Lab for an autopsy.
“The case is still active, and Detective Mike Carroll is the lead investigator,” Nichols said.