Cops: Shooting victims were ambushed; motive still unclear

Robert Bell

Robert Bell

Detectives believe Robert Bell was lying in wait, ready for a deadly assault-rifle ambush, when his soon-to-be victims arrived home that night.

Gwinnett County police on Wednesday released more information regarding the Sept. 15 quadruple shooting on Centerville’s Anderson Livsey Lane. According to spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith, Bell — the 33-year-old suspect still on the lam 10 days later — had been anticipating the return of Angela Benton, her boyfriend, her 12-year-old son and her 19-year-old godson.

“We believe that Bell was waiting in the home when all four victims arrived,” Smith said. All four people were returning from an out-of-town trip in Bell’s SUV.

“Joseph McDonald (Benton’s son) and Raynard Daniel (Benton’s godson) went directly into the house where Bell was waiting,” Smith said. The pair was shot and killed inside the home before Bell allegedly went outside and began firing at Benton, 34, and 23-year-old boyfriend Justin Cato.

Benton was killed while Cato, shot in the leg, survived and was able to call 911.

“Cato reported hearing the gunshots from inside the house as he was gathering items from the car to bring inside,” Smith said.

Bell reportedly fled on foot, leaving his SUV and an AR-15-style assault rifle behind. Believed to have ties to Albany, Crossville, Tenn., and Chicago, he’s yet to be captured. Smith said Wednesday there was still “no good motive” for Bell’s alleged actions. There were no signs of robbery, he said.

Anyone with information on Bell’s whereabouts should call GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS. Anyone coming into contact with him should call 911.

Bell had been living at the home in question for a short time after Benton took him and his wife in. The latter was in Tennessee the night of the shootings and has fully cooperated with police, Smith said.