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Cops: Shooting victim was an armed robber

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police want to talk to a man who shot and killed a would-be robber last week at a Norcross apartment complex.

It was an unconventional investigation from the beginning, and detectives believe a Hispanic man known as "John" may help them piece together what really happened on Jan. 25 at Crescent Lake Village apartments. The man is about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build. He is known to drive a dark burgundy Dodge Intrepid or Stratus.

Authorities questioned how much of a victim 18-year-old William D'Juan Jones was when they found his lifeless body that day. Jones had been shot to death in the breezeway; however, he had a red bandanna tied across his face and a handgun lay at his side, said Detective S.K. Shaw of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Someone reportedly sent Jones a text message shortly after the shooting asking "are you OK." After tracing the text message and talking to those who sent it, Shaw learned that Jones had traveled with three friends from Decatur to the Norcross apartments with the intent to rob someone.

Questioned by police, the three accomplices allegedly admitted to their scheme, but they claimed Jones was the only person who got out of the car. The accomplices said they saw Jones pursue a Hispanic man into the breezeway and they were startled to hear the crack of gunfire. They drove away, uncertain about the fate of their friend.

Apparently Jones had picked the wrong person to rob.

"I think (John) observed what was going to take place and was able to prepare himself for it," Shaw said.

John apparently fired on Jones, killing him before the robber could get a shot off. Apartment complex residents provided a description of John which matched the description given by Jones' three accomplices, Shaw said.

Police want to question John about what happened, but they said he is not a suspect in a crime and no charges have been filed against him.

"He is not in trouble. We just want to talk to him," Shaw said on Friday. "He is a tool in the investigation."

Investigators left several messages on John's phone, however, he hasn't returned their calls - probably because he is afraid, Shaw said. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Gwinnett County Police Department's investigative division at 770-513-5300.

Authorities are also investigating whether Jones and his friends were involved in any similar holdups in the area, Shaw said. No charges have been filed against the other suspects, but the case is still under active investigation.