Gwinnett Police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of Applebees’s apparently after three men argued over a football game inside the restaurant located at 2085 Pleasant Hill Road in unincorporated Duluth, according to Cpl. Edwin Ritter. The shooting was reported about 6:20 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 14).
Officers responding to a report that shots had been fired found a man with a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the parking lot. He was later identified as 30-year-old Christopher Middleton of Stone Mountain, Ritter reported. He was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition. A second victim identified as 30-year-old Corey Adams of Duluth suffered a minor graze wound to his head, Ritter said. Adams was treated at the scene and released.
On the basis of a description of the shooter and the vehicle he was driving when he left the restaurant, officers spotted the suspect and his vehicle a short time later. Gwinett Police stopped him for questioning as he traveled south on Interstate 85 near Jimmy Carter Boulevard. He was identified as Donald Ray Ayro, 31, Ritter said. No address for Ayro was available.
Investigators learned during the course of the investigation that all three men had been inside the Applebee’s watching a football game. Ayro became upset with Middleton and Adams, made some type of comment that he would be back for them, and left the restaurant, Ritter reported. A short time later, Ayro confronted Middleton and Adams in the parking lot and opened fire on them with a handgun. Ayro fired several rounds and left the area in his vehicle, Ritter said.
Investigators charged Ayro with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to Ritter. Ayro was transported to Gwinnett County Jail and was being held without bond.
Additional charges may be made as this investigation continues, Ritter said.