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Police have ‘person of interest’ in Labor Day barbecue killing

A Columbus man died early today after being struck in the head at a Labor Day barbecue in Oakland Park, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said.

Joseph Davis, 47, of Bond Drive in Oakland Park, was apparently struck in the head by another man at a gathering at an undisclosed Bond Avenue address. Davis was taken to the Midtown Medical Center suffering from intercranial bleeding, Bryan said. He was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and died there at about 3:30 this morning, Bryan said.

Apparently, Davis was at a Labor Day gathering, leaning against a pickup truck, when the assault occurred, Bryan said.

One witness reportedly said he heard a “big impact” and saw the victim fall to the ground, Bryan said. Another witness said, “The next thing I knew, Joe was on the driveway.”

The witnesses identified the suspect, who left the scene before police arrived. Police have issued an arrest warrant for him for assault.

“That will be changed from assault to murder,” Bryan said.

Columbus Police Maj. Gil Slouchick, head of Investigative Services, said police are awaiting word from the Fulton County medical examiner to determine when an autopsy will be performed to determine the exacct cause of death.

Slouchick said police do have a “person of interest” in the case, but declined to identify that person.