LAWRENCEVILLE - Police are hunting for a 39-year-old Lawrenceville man suspected of blindly shooting into a car full of teenagers Monday night, killing one.
Miguel Elorza is wanted on murder and aggravated assault charges for fatally shooting the 17-year-old driver, Alberto Coreas of Lawrenceville, in the head and wounding the teen's passenger. Elorza fled his Sir Scott Court home after the shooting, police said. He remains at large.
The injured teen, Fabien Ribera, 14, was hospitalized at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston after his head was grazed by a bullet, police said. A third teen in the Nissan was uninjured.
Police said the altercation started when the teens pulled up to Elorza's residence about 8 p.m. to confront a teenage resident with whom they'd squabbled in the past.
Police suspect at least one of the teens in the car has a past affiliation with "Norenos-13," or "N-13," a violent Hispanic gang with roots in California. They believed the teen in Elorza's home belonged to rival "La Raza," police said.
"It's not confirmed at this time if any of the teens were active gang members," said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.
Elorza confronted the teens in his driveway, and they ordered him to "have his son come outside because they were going to beat him up," Spellman said.
Instead, Elorza allegedly retrieved a handgun, prompting the teens to speed away. And then he started shooting, police said.
After shots were fired, Coreas crashed into a Chevrolet Blazer parked on Sir Gregory Manor - about a block and two 90-degree turns away from Elorza's home - where responding police found them moments later.
Little was known about the deceased victim Tuesday. A number listed as Coreas' residence has been disconnected. None of the teenage victims are enrolled in Gwinnett Public Schools, a spokesperson said.
By late morning Tuesday, the lone sign of a disturbance in the predominately Hispanic neighborhood where the shooting occurred was a dangling piece of police cordoning tape left on a tree near Elorza's home. The one-story house sits on a long, sloping driveway girded by large potted plants, with angel statues and outdoor furniture dotting the yard. A pitbull roamed the fenced backyard.
A message left at a number listed as Elorza's home was not returned. His next-door neighbor said the suspect is married with a son but declined further comment.
Jail records show no one involved in the shooting has a criminal record in Gwinnett.
The shooting disrupts what's been a relatively nonviolent autumn in terms of Gwinnett's body count.
The homicide marked the first killing Gwinnett police have worked since Sept. 9, when a domestic fight outside a woman's Snellville home left one man dead from strangulation, police said.
Last year was a different story. Police agencies recorded 16 homicides in Gwinnett in the months of September, October and November in 2007.
The investigation into Coreas' death continues, Spellman said.
Elorza's arrest warrant describes him as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.