Police investigating armed robbery, shooting at Athens park


Photo taken by witness purports to show gunman robbing cash box at entrance to splash pad area of Virginia Walker Park Sunday morning

By Joe Johnson

There was a shooting incident Sunday morning at an east Athens park involving a man who stole a cash box.

Officers who responded to the incident possibly shot the robber, sources said.

Athens-Clarke County police officials have not responded to repeated attempts to reach them about the incident at Virginia Walker Park off Trail Creek Street.

Police Public Information Assistant Geof Gilland said at about 3:30 p.m. that he was working on a press release concerning the incident.

However, a 28-year-old woman who was with her two young sons during the incident told Classic Citty News that at about 10:20 a.m. she was seated under an umbrella near the park’s splash pad where her children were playing when saw a man come from the back of the park or from the woods, according to the woman, who said the man was talking to himself and appeared unkempt.

She then noticed that the man was holding a pistol with an extended magazine, which he concealed with a camouflage jacket that was draped over the weapon.

He reportedly asked the woman two times, “Are you throwing gang signs?”

“He was saying things that didn’t make sense and he pointed the gun right at me,” she said, “I was staring down the barrel of a gun and praying I didn’t get shot.”

The witness said the man then went to where two teenage boys were minding a cash box at the entrance to the park's splash pad area and robbed them of the box at gunpoint.

The woman said she warned others in the park about the armed man and she called 911.

The woman said that when officers arrived, the man went up a hill toward a parking lot, pointing the gun at people along the way.

After officers arrived, they went toward where the man had gone and three gunshots rang out, the woman said.

The witness did not know what happened next because the police cleared everyone from the park.

“Those teens at the entrance were petrified and all the kids there were scared,” she said. “One of my sons said to me, ‘Mommy, I don’t ever want to come back to this park again.’”

Sources said the suspect was shot but no officers were injured.

Police reportedly were trying to determine if the suspect was the same person who on Saturday night randomly shot at cars on Trail Creek Street

Classic City News will update this story as more information becomes available.