Norcross, Georgia

From of October 18, 2007

Police Say Customer at Norcross Restaurant Fatally Shot Man in Self Defense

Police say a customer, who shot and killed a man at a restaurant early Thursday morning, did so in self defense. It happened at barnacles [sic] on Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution of October 18, 2007

Fatal shooting at Norcross bar marks Gwinnett homicide record

Norcross police say they’re unlikely to file charges in a fatal shooting at a local bar early Thursday.

The killing — the third homicide within the city limits this year — marks the record for Gwinnett County.

Police identified the dead man as Juan Ojeda, 54, a Spanish national living near Norcross who officers said was a regular at Barnacles Restaurant on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

Another patron killed Ojeda in self defense, said Norcross Police Detective Jason Carter.

The homicide is the 41st for Gwinnett, according to the county medical examiner’s office.

That surpasses last year’s record of 40.

In the 1997 Gwinnett had only 17 homicides. But in since 2003, it has had more than 30 every year. Local law enforcement experts have cited the county’s skyrocketing population.

Witnesses said Ojeda appeared to have been drinking when he drove up to the restaurant around midnight, Carter said. Ojeda joined a group of four other people — other regulars, but not well acquainted with the man — on the patio and became belligerent when one person asked Ojeda not to be obnoxious.

Carter said Ojeda grabbed one man’s neck.

“Imagine a 54-year-old man putting a 26-year-old guy in a headlock,” Carter said. Witnesses said that a moment later Ojeda feigned an apology, then lunged at another man and bit him in the neck, Carter said.

Managers and patrons ran Ojeda off, but he returned a few minutes later around 1 a.m., gun in hand, witnesses told Carter. As people on the patio scattered, one of the men he’d been sitting with ran away but drew his own gun, police said. The patron fired once, hitting Ojeda in the head as he stood in the parking lot, police said.

Police did not release the name of the patron who killed Ojeda, citing their continuing investigation. But they characterized the event as an apparent act of self defense.

The group remained at the restaurant after the shooting and gave police statements.

“They’ve been totally cooperative,” Carter said.

Calls to relatives and co-workers of Ojeda were not returned.

“If you came in here in the afternoons, you’d recognize him,” general manager Mike Ogozelec said of Ojeda, referring further questions to the restaurant’s corporate office.


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