A stretch of Interstate 185 was shut down temporarily early today after a man was shot to death in a vehicle while traveling northbound near the Cusseta Road overpass, authorities said.
The victim was identified as Keith Turner of Columbus, said Muscogee County Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley. Turner, 24, was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at 4:02 a.m. at the scene of the shooting.
Worley said Turner’s body will be sent to the crime lab in Atlanta on Monday for an autopsy.
Police Lt. Consuelo Askew said patrol units were called at 3:09 a.m. to the stretch of highway just before the Cusseta Road overpass to check on a shooting victim. Police found Turner suffering from a gunshot.
Detectives went to the scene and assumed the investigation. There was visible damage from gunshots fired into the car driven by the victim.
While the investigation of the homicide was underway, Northbound traffic was diverted from I-185 at Victory Drive. The stretch of I-185 was reopened around 10 a.m., some seven hours after detectives completed an initial investigation at the scene.
Relatives were shocked to learn Turner had been shot on the highway in his car. An uncle, who lives off Forrest Road in southeast Columbus, said he last saw Turner at his home three weeks ago when the funeral was held for a relative.
Anyone with information in Turner's murder should contact Sgt. Robert Taft at 706-225-4295 or the Robbery/Assault Unit at 706-653-3400, police said.
Turner’s death is the third homicide in a week and eighth of the year in the city. Columbus police are still investigating separate shootings on Independence Day that left Zachery Clark, 35, and Blake Bernard Berry, 24 dead. No suspect has been charged in either of the deaths.
Police also are involved in a joint investigation in the disappearance of 25-year-old Nancy “Renee” Eldridge who was found dead Tuesday in a Valley, Ala., creek, three days after she was reported missing on Independence Day from her 46th Street home. Authorities still don’t know where she was killed.