Suspect in fatal shooting appears in court
A third person was arrested in the Nov. 6 shooting at 5 Corner Lotto that killed 23-year-old Vatsel Patel, Columbus Police Lt. Greg Touchberry announced Tuesday afternoon in a news release.
Joshua Tucker, 17, was arrested Saturday and charged with murder and aggravated assault related to the incident at 1231 Linwood Blvd. He was booked into the Muscogee County Jail for a 9 a.m. Wednesday hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Dominique Collins, 18, Jalontaye Clay Cleveland, 18, Courtney Williams, 26, and Kimberly Huffman, 30, also face murder charges in the case.
Cleveland and Collins pleaded not guilty early February in Columbus Recorder’s Court. Authorities are still searching for Huffman of Columbus and Williams of Stewart County, Ga.
During the preliminary hearings, Columbus Police Sgt. Anthony Locey said authorities were called around 9:53 p.m. Nov. 6. to a shooting at 5 Corner Lotto. Officers found Patel and his father suffering from gunshot wounds outside of store.
Patel, who was employed at the store, and his father, who owns it, were transported to Midtown Medical Center. Patel was pronounced dead at the hospital at 10:15 p.m. His father was treated for a gunshot wound to the stomach and released after undergoing emergency surgery.
Locey said officials obtained a surveillance video that showed a SUV arriving on the scene from the 17th Street area and circling the building. Three black men wearing masks and gloves left the area where the SUV pulled onto the scene and headed to the side of the building near Linwood Boulevard.
Locey said they waited outside as the victims closed the business and locked the store. Two of the men were armed with a handgun and one was on a cellphone when they approached the father and son, according to police.
One individual shot the father in the stomach through a gallon carton of milk he was holding. Patel then tried to unlock the doors and go back into the business, Locey testified.
That’s when an armed suspect continued to fire several shots, striking him in the upper back as he was fleeing with the other suspects. Officials confirmed that only one weapon was fired, but they have yet to name the shooter.