A 22-year-old man broke into a man’s van before firing shots at him and two others Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of the Peachtree Mall, according to testimony today in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Quatavious Randell Farley, who allegedly forced his girlfriend to drive him away from the mall by holding her at gunpoint, pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and one count each of kidnapping, burglary, simple battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Columbus police said they were called to the shopping center at 3131 Manchester Expressway around 1:34 p.m. Sunday after shots were fired in the parking lot.
A man on the scene told officials that he was in the parking lot with two of his friends when he noticed a stranger later identified as Farley in his van. When the victim confronted Farley, he exited the vehicle and got into the passenger seat of a red hatchback driven by an unknown woman, authorities said.
Police said the men were approaching the vehicle when the woman began to drive away from the area. After they told her to stop, Farley allegedly fired shots toward the men from passenger side of the hatchback before he and the woman left the area in the hatchback.
Officials said one of the bullets ricocheted and struck a bystander, but no one was seriously injured.
Later that day, Farley’s girlfriend arrived at the Public Safety Center on 10th Street. She said she drove Farley, who she described as abusive, to the mall earlier that afternoon in her red 2013 Nissan Versa.
She said she was leaving the parking lot when she saw a group of black men approaching the driver’s side of her vehicle and yelling for her to stop the car. Scared that one of the men might struck her, she stopped her vehicle and put her hands up, police said.
That’s when Farley allegedly jumped back into the passenger seat of her vehicle, withdrew a silver and black pistol and aimed it at her head. He threatened to kill her if she didn’t drive away from the area, police testified.
When she didn’t respond right away, he struck her in the head with the pistol and threatened her again before firing shots outside of the passenger side of the vehicle, police said. The girlfriend then drove away the scene as she was instructed to do, officials said.
When she reached the intersection of Manchester Expressway and Armour Road, Farley allegedly exited the vehicle and fled on foot. She went on to her father’s residence and told him what happen. He reported the incident to police.
Later that day at 6:05 p.m., Farley was taken into custody at his North Lumpkin Road residence. Police said they searched the home, and located a handgun that matched the description of the weapon used in the shooting.
In a statement to police, Farley allegedly told police that he opened the driver’s door of the van thinking it belonged to his uncle but closed it once he realized it did not. He said a man then approached him and accused him of stealing from the vehicle.
He told authorities he grabbed a gun from his girlfriend’s vehicle and fired shots at the man, who he feared would strike his girlfriend. In court, he again stated that he was trying to protect the woman.
Judge Michael Cielinski ordered the defendant held in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $76,000. His case was bound over to Superior Court.