1 arrested, 1 dead, 1 at large

Cafe robbery goes awry after gunfire exchanged

by Wes Mayer

A man suspected of being involved in a Fayetteville armed robbery incident on Friday was arrested by police Monday - a second suspect was found dead in Morrow and a third suspect is still being sought.

According to a press release from the Fayetteville Police Department, Alvin James Scott, 26, was arrested in his home early Monday. The body of another suspect, Alonzo Starks, 25, was found outside an abandoned home in Morrow. The third suspect, Leandro Bernard Johnson, 27, has not been located by police.

The robbery occurred late Friday at the China Cafe in Fayetteville. According to Lt. Mike Whitlow of Fayetteville Police, two suspects, now known as Starks and Johnson, held three employees of the cafe at gunpoint demanding money. One of the employees pulled out a handgun and fired at one of the suspects, Starks, who was shot multiple times. It is unclear which one of the robbers returned fire, but one of the employees - not the one holding the gun - was shot in the upper abdomen.

That employee was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. The bullet lodged itself very close to the employee's heart, and the employee is still in critical condition, Whitlow said.

Authorities determined Starks was shot once in the head, Whitlow said, and further investigation determined he died by the time he got to the getaway car, driven by Scott.

'[Armed robbery] is a dangerous enterprise to begin with,' Whitlow said, 'but the longer you do it, the longer you run the risk of something like this happening.'

Concerned family members of Starks, worried Starks was involved in the shooting and they had not heard from him, contacted Fayetteville Police Department on Monday, Whitlow said. Fayetteville authorities were able to identify the suspects and their location from the family members, and with the help of Clayton County and Morrow police departments, Scott was arrested in his home.

Johnson was not at the home at the time, and is still at large, Whitlow said. Scott was arrested and cooperated with authorities to direct them to the body of Starks, found in a mulch pile outside an abandoned Morrow home.

Warrants were issued for Johnson and Scott on charges of armed robbery. According to Whitlow, many more charges may follow after the investigation, some depending on the condition of the victim. There is also the possibility of murder charges against Johnson and Scott for their role in the death of Starks.

All three men are suspected of similar armed robberies in Morrow as well as in the jurisdictions of Clayton, Henry and Fulton counties. They are also suspected of the Oct. 3 robbery of the Golden Chopstix in Fayetteville.



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