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Judge hears murder case

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Gwinnett County magistrate on Wednesday bound over murder charges on a Stone Mountain man after a gunfight at the suspect's home left a Decatur man dead.

According to police, 25-year-old Elliot Ford shot and killed Deontae Kimber, 19, on June 27 after the two men argued about Ford leaving the house.

While accounts of exactly what happened differ slightly, this much is agreed upon: Kimber showed up at 2464 Rockwood Way with Valencia Sims, Ford's then-girlfriend, and three other men. An argument ensued. As Kimber stood in the front yard, he pulled a Glock .40-caliber handgun and opened fire on Ford, who was standing on the porch. After being struck by at least one bullet, Ford went into the residence, grabbed an assault rifle, returned to the porch and started "spraying rounds."

Gwinnett police Detective John Richter said the three other men ran away as soon as Kimber pulled the gun, while Sims drove off in the van.

Police believe Kimber and Ford exchanged gunfire as they circled a blue Monte Carlo parked in the driveway. The vehicle, he said, is bullet-riddled and its windows blown out.

At some point, police said, Kimber was struck and fell face-first to the ground. That's when Ford approached Kimber and fired at least one more bullet into his body. According to Sims, Ford fired multiple shots - as many as 15 or 20 - over the downed man.

Richter said Kimber was shot in the head four times and at least 12 times in the back and arms.

Before the shooting, police had been called out to the residence twice that day, records show. Sims reportedly was trying to get Ford to leave the residence they shared, and Ford refused. Richter said officers had no grounds to force Ford to leave, so they allowed Sims to gather some of her belongings and go to her mother's house.

Sometime about 8 p.m., Sims, her brother, Kimber and two other men returned to the residence for reasons that are unclear.

Police said it may have been to discuss Ford leaving the residence. Richter said all four witnesses denied knowing that Kimber was armed.

"What kind of discussion did (Kimber) have with my client, with this gun?" asked defense attorney Rob Greenwald.

Greenwald pointed out that Ford was unarmed, sitting on his own porch when he was shot. Only then, Greenwald said, did his client go inside and get a weapon.