Shooting leaves one man critically wounded; suspect in custody

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

A Wednesday afternoon shooting has left Robert Murray Jr., age 39, in critical condition with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Officials of the Griffin Police Department say the suspect, 29-year-old Christopher Willis is in custody and has been transported to the Spalding County Jail.
According to Chief Steve Heaton, at approximately 1313 hours, officers were dispatched to Robert’s Collision Center located at 1416 Meriwether St. in response to shots having been fired.
“When the units arrived, they found a person who’d been shot one time in the chest. The suspect had fled the scene on foot,” Heaton said. “Officers obtained a physical description of the suspect and then began looking in the area. One of our officers that was in the area looking for the suspect found him in the 400 block of Hammond Drive. After a brief foot chase, he was apprehended.”
The suspect did not offer further resistance.
Lt. Mike Richardson, of the GPD Criminal Investigation Division, said a motive has not yet been established.
“All we know is that he (Willis) has a car up there that was being worked on. He walked in and I believe asked for Robert Murray Jr. Several other people heard a gunshot fired from inside the building and found the victim shot in the chest,” he said.
Richardson said Willis has not made a statement to investigators, but witness statements place the suspect at the shooting scene.
Authorities allege that after shooting Murray Jr., Willis fired a second shot at the victim’s father, Robert Murray Sr., the business owner, but he was not struck.
Willis was not armed at the time of his arrest, but Heaton said officers continued to search the area following his apprehension and were able to recover a handgun.
“We were concerned about someone – particularly a child – recovering the weapon, so we went back out there and re-searched the area and recovered the weapon not far from where he (Willis) was apprehended,” Heaton said.
Murray Jr. was initially transported to the emergency room of Spalding Regional Hospital. Once stabilized, he was air lifted to Atlanta Medical Center for further treatment.
Willis has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and assorted weapons violations.

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