LAWRENCEVILLE - When Lagarian Hannah opened fire at a Duluth gas station in the wee hours of Dec. 21, he inadvertently killed the last person he would have wished harm - the cousin he'd known and loved since boyhood, a detective testified Friday.
Whether an accident or not, the 24-year-old is charged with murder for allegedly shooting a fellow Lithonia man, Terrence Davis, 23, at a BP station on Pleasant Hill Road.
Hannah told police he fired a .40 caliber handgun he kept in his Chevy Avalanche "to disperse the crowd" of roughly 25 people that had gathered around a fistfight in the gas station parking lot, testified Gwinnett police Detective D. Cruz at a probable cause hearing.
A bullet struck Davis in his neck and exited his jaw, killing him immediately. No one else was hit.
"(Hannah and Davis) were as close as could be, best friends," Cruz said. "There's no way he wanted to hit him - no way in the world."
Hannah and his cousin had come to blows with two men they'd squabbled with earlier in the night at a nearby Barnacles restaurant - the same men they'd had a beef with two weeks prior at the same location. The men, who were driving a Ford Mustang, have not been identified, Cruz said.
Police fingered Hannah as the alleged shooter after speaking with several witnesses on scene and locating the handgun in his vehicle.
Gwinnett Magistrate Court Judge Robert Waller acknowledged the case was an "obvious tragedy," but nonetheless bound charges of felony murder and aggravated assault to Superior Court, a move that squelches Hannah's chance of bond.
For now, the case hinges on a bullet "jacket" that remained lodged in Davis' jaw.
Lab testing at the state level is pending to determine if the jacket was fired from Hannah's weapon or not - scientific evidence that could potentially exonerate or condemn him, Cruz said.
Hannah's attorney, David Clark, argued the bullet path described by the detective was inconsistent with his client's position when shots rang out. He asked the judge to consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, in that it hasn't been proven that Hannah meant to hit anybody, he said.
"We have 25 people over there at 2 (a.m.) after a bar fight - any one of them could have had a gun," Clark said.
Clark called witness Jaquez Glover - a cousin to both the victim and the alleged shooter - to the stand, who testified he saw Hannah fire the gun skyward while seated in the truck, his shooting arm bent at a 90 degree angle on the passenger door's armrest.
A prosecutor reminded Glover he was under oath, warning him that perjury charges could arise should his statement Friday be found to conflict with what he'd told police the night of the shooting.