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Man found shot to death in parking lot

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 20-year-old Jonesboro man was gunned down Thursday evening while driving a car in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in Snellville.

Police who arrived around 11 p.m. at McDonald's at the intersection of Ga. Highway 124 and Centerville Road found Adler Jerry Benoit dead in the driver's seat of a car. Investigators believe some sort of dispute broke out between Adler and two other men in his car, perhaps from a business transaction that went sour.

Adler was shot an unspecified number of times, said Cpl. Lou Gregoire, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

"As a reflexive action, he stomped on the gas peddle and crashed through the bushes, through a Huddle House parking lot and through some more shrubs into the Goodyear tires store parking lot," Gregoire said.

The front of the car came to rest against a garage in the back of the tire store. Witnesses told police two passengers then jumped out of the vehicle and ran.

The motive for the shooting is still undetermined, but police believe the victim and shooters may have been meeting for nefarious purposes.

"The suspects were in the car with this guy before the shooting, so we believe they probably know each other at least on a business level," Gregoire said. "He's up in Gwinnett at McDonald's in the middle of the night with two other guys, you just get the feeling there was criminal activity afoot."

An employee of McDonald's had the uneasy feeling that the men in the car had been casing the restaurant for a robbery, Gregoire said. Tracking dogs and police helicopters were brought out to search for the two suspects, but the dogs lost a scent a short distance from the crime scene.

Investigators think the suspects may have had another car waiting nearby. The only description of the two suspects is they are black men in their late teens to early 20s. Both are between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and 160 to 180 pounds.