2 charged in bowling alley shooting

LILBURN - A shooting that wounded a man in a bowling alley parking lot Wednesday was a botched drug deal involving two suspects now in police custody, authorities said.

The condition of the victim, Dexter Springer, was upgraded to serious Thursday afternoon, Gwinnett Medical Center spokeswoman Andrea Wehrmann said.

Benjamin Lamar Adams of Clarkston and his alleged accomplice, Leroy Antwon Backman, have been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the shooting, according to Gwinnett Police Department spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli. They remain in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, records showed. A police news release did not state how old the men are.

Authorities said one of the suspects shot Springer at about 4 p.m. during a drug deal in a Chevy Impala parked in the lot of Brunswick Zone, a Lawrenceville Highway bowling alley. Springer allegedly was pushed out of the vehicle before the duo sped out of the lot and headed south on Lawrenceville Highway. Adams was later caught after a brief foot chase with Gwinnett police. Backman was arrested at a Wal-Mart on Lawrenceville Highway.

Despite allegations of a drug deal gone awry, investigators on Thursday were still trying to find a motive.

"The exact circumstances of what prompted the shooting are still under investigation," Schiralli said.

What occurred after the shooting - a bizarre chase in broad daylight on a busy U.S. highway - is evident.

An off-duty Newnan police officer witnessed Springer being kicked out of the car, Schiralli said. He began to follow the vehicle on Lawrenceville Highway, and called in the incident to local authorities. He tailed the duo until he lost them in heavy afternoon traffic.

After dropping off Backman at a nearby Wal-Mart, Adams allegedly attempted to run over a Lilburn police officer near the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Beaver Ruin Road, police said. The officer shot at the vehicle, hitting it, as Adams continued south.

At Rockbridge Road and Five Forks Trickum Road, police said Adams lost control of the Impala and crashed into a concrete median. He was caught after a brief foot chase with Gwinnett police.

Adams has been arrested several times in Gwinnett on a string of probation violations dating back to September 2006, according to jail records.

This is Backman's first arrest in Gwinnett, records show.