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Man shot at in downtown Athens, narrowly avoids serious injury

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

By Joe Johnson

An Elbert County man reportedly avoided serious injury in downtown Athens early Sunday when another man at close range fired a gun at him but missed.

According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, 21-year-old Bowman resident Andrew Holley and his brother had just left a North Jackson Street strip club when, near Synovus Bank on West Hancock Street they encountered a black male who called Holley a “cracker.”

The report notes that when Holley asked the male why he called him that racially derogatory name, an argument began that escalated into a physical altercation.

Holley told an officer that during the fight “he felt a warm blast and (heard) a loud bang and (he) turned and ran as fast as he could. He did not know if he got shot or not, according to the report, which noted that the victim’s shirt had a black mark on it that possibly came from a gunshot.

During the police response to the shooting call, officers saw a large crowd of people leaving the area in a hurry, but found one witness who corroborated what Holley said occurred.

Officers also viewed what had happened by watching footage from a neighboring bar’s security camera, according to the police report.

The black male suspect was described as wearing a white T-shirt under a plaid button-down shirt, the report noted.

Police on Tuesday said the investigation was ongoing, and asked for anyone with information regarding the incident to contact Detective Paul Johnson at 762-400-7060 or

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