Police: ID of victim unknown
Buford slaying is first in city since 2006

BUFORD - Authorities have yet to identify a black man shot to death Thursday in another person's home - the first murder in greater Buford in nearly two years, police said.

The man was discovered in a pool of blood by police Thursday afternoon after an anonymous caller reported a person injured in the residence. Police have no idea who called 911 or who the dead man is.

But the mystery doesn't end there.

Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said police have yet to track down the family who occupied the Buford Dam Road house, a blue two-story on the fringes of Lake Lanier and Hall County. The home, which neighbors say is vacant, is a rental property and the victim was neither the renter nor the owner of the house, authorities said.

"It's a pretty odd case," Schiralli said. "The renters disappeared."

Buford resident Harry Blankenship owns the property, according to Gwinnett County government records. A representative at Blankenship's business said Friday he has no comment on the incident.

A phone number registered to the address has been temporarily disconnected.

Police have no suspects or possible motives in the killing. The victim, a 20- to 30-year-old black man, was found "with just the clothing on his back," Schiralli said.

Police ran the man's fingerprints Friday but found no matches on their database or in Georgia Bureau of Investigation records. Schiralli said the prints will be forwarded to the FBI, which will take at least two days to process.

"He's never been in trouble in Georgia before," Schiralli said.

Police did not say how many times or where on his body the man was shot.

A business called Blankenship Boat and RV Storage borders the property. Mark Vallely, a neighbor who stores his motorhome at the business, said a Hispanic family with children recently moved out of the home.

"It makes you more conscious about keeping your doors locked," Vallely said.

Police arrived at the residence about 5:20 p.m. Thursday and knocked several times but no one answered. They entered through an open back door and discovered the man lying in a pool of blood on the floor. He was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

"I heard three shots - bam, bam, bam," said Victor Vindel, a neighbor. "It was just kind of shocking. I was just like, 'Man, what's going on?'"

Diane Winter, who lives down the road, said the neighborhood is virtually crime-free, save for a little graffiti on fences and subdivision entrances.

"We've been warned about gangs and stuff," she said. "It's pretty weird, pretty scary."

The homicide marks the first killing in greater Buford since August 2006, when two 15-year-old girls were charged in the death of their adoptive mother, Schiralli said.