Chaos, death after DeKalb funeral: ‘Oh God, they’re shooting’

| June 7, 2012

Moments after the pastor's words urged those at the funeral to value human life, the inspirational calmness came to a deadly halt Thursday afternoon at a DeKalb County church. That's where the man accused of killing 19-year-old Ryan Devon Guider showed up at the funeral and gunfire ensued again, according to police.

As nearly 500 people left a funeral for Guider, gunfire erupted in the parking lot of the Victory for the World Church, killing two people and wounding at least two others, according to police. What witnesses said began as a fight between more than a dozen people who attended the funeral quickly became the scene of a double homicide, just steps away from the church's sanctuary.

"We were ready to go to the burial, and I heard ‘pow pow pow pow,' " mourner Regina Sharp told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I thank God I made it out alive."

DeKalb Public Safety Director William Miller said police believe the man accused of killing Guider, Marcus D. Ventress, attended the funeral and ended up in the church's parking lot with a gun, fired several shots into the air and other people returned fire. Some witnesses said up to eight shots were fired.

"The indication from some of the witnesses was they did see him here, so we're relying on witness statements that they saw this young man here who was responsible for Mr. Guider's death in the first place," Miller told reporters outside of the church Thursday afternoon.

Investigators believe Ventress was involved with the altercation following the funeral, and initially believed he was among those shot. Miller later said detectives believe Ventress left the church with others in a vehicle. Police detained people traveling in a vehicle not far from the church, but could not confirm who was in the car.

Police had not released the names of those killed or wounded, nor whether any arrests had been made, by late Thursday.

Witnesses said the church was packed for Guider’s funeral. Toward the end of the service, people were filing out of the church for the processional and then burial when a large fight broke out outside the church, witnesses said. The melee involved more than a dozen people, witnesss said.

Many of those that attended the funeral for Guider of Decatur said they had no idea what was happening, but heard the gunshots and feared for their lives. One woman's sandals were broken from running; another woman held her high heels, which she she said she took off when she heard the shots so she could move faster.

Authorities said Ventress, 28, shot Guider, who died May 27, as retaliation Law enforcement sources told investigators that Guider “burglarized the home of Ventress, stealing jewelry, cash and drugs and punching Ventress’ mother,” Sergeant Adrion Bell with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said. Police said Ventress also is accused of shooting into shot into an apartment in the 5800 block of Treecrest Parkway, thinking Guider lived there.

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Category: Church Security

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