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Girl, 15, shot in back of head while talking to gunman on cellphone, Columbus police say

A 15-year-old girl was shot in the back of the head while talking on her cellphone with the man accused of shooting her in a 328i BMW, a Columbus Police Detective testified Wednesday in Recorder’s Court.

Alonzo Hightower, 20, of Columbus pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated assault and one count of second-degree criminal damage to property. With a recommendation from assistant district attorney Matt Brown, Judge Julius Hunter added an additional charge of possession of a gun during the commission of a crime. He ordered Hightower held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on the four assault charges and bound the cases over to Muscogee Superior Court.

Police detective Delante Odom testified the teen had met Hightower on Facebook Messenger before the 12:15 a.m. Aug. 29 shooting on Watkins Drive. She was riding in a BMW with two men and another woman when she called Hightower on his cellphone and asked for some money.

The officer said Hightower wasn’t happy about her riding around with other men. Hightower was standing on the sidewalk on Watkins Drive as a shot was fired into the car, shattering the back window. The teen was struck in the back of the head.

An occupant in the car said the man had a silver gun in his hand as they approached the dead end of the street. Occupants also heard the gunshot over the phone in the car, the detective said.

One shell casing was found on the street. The driver went to the Circle K at 5448 Forrest Road to get help from police.

The teen, traveling in the rear seat, was in the hospital for three weeks. Brown said a battery charge may be considered in the shooting.

Hightower was taken into custody Tuesday on Watkins Drive. He was identified as the suspect who fired the shot after he was placed in a police lineup.

He was represented by Marie Pardue, a public defender, but he didn’t testify during the hearing.

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