ATLANTA – An Ohio man who made a 700-mile drive to Georgia to bury his father was gunned down by a carjacker, leaving his family to plan a second goodbye.
Terrence Harris, 41, had been in the town of Fairburn, about 20 miles southwest of Atlanta, for a few days helping his mother and other family members make funeral arrangements. On Thursday, Harris wanted to get out of the house and took his father's car to get washed. There, he was shot by a carjacker.
"He was a really good guy," Harris' aunt, Yvette Harris, said from Ohio on Friday. "It's just a senseless murder in my mind that occurred for no good reason."
Police said a suspect, Kealy Williams, 26, of Palmetto, turned himself in later Friday. Williams told investigators he was unaware he had shot Harris until seeing news reports, Fairburn Detective Charles Israel said.
Williams was jailed on a murder charge pending a hearing Saturday.
Israel said Williams told authorities he was trying to get the victim out of the car and allegedly "pulled the trigger trying to scare him" with a shot in warning. He gave no further details of the man's account and said Williams didn't have a lawyer yet.
Harris was gunned down at the Golden Shine Car Wash, where he was cleaning the green Cadillac his father used to drive. A relative with him was not injured.
Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities found the car early Friday morning in Coweta County near where Harris was shot
Through word of mouth, family members in Ohio heard details of Harris' final moments. Harris, who everyone called "Chub," was described as a family man and amateur grill master. He went to school in Atlanta in the 1980s and had more recently been working as a debris hauler in Shaker Heights, Ohio, near Cleveland.
Harris arrived in Georgia over the weekend after his father, Major McDonald, died of kidney ailments in his mid- to late 50s last week, Harris' aunt said.
"They had been in the house for a few days making plans," Harris' aunt said. "He got cabin fever (and) wanted to get out of the house."
Before heading to the car wash, Harris stopped by Wal-Mart with a cousin in the car. There, they bumped into his mom and other family out running their own errands.
"They said they were going around the corner to rinse off the car and they would be off to the next thing," Yvette Harris said. "Just in that split few minutes, this happened."
Police said the suspect approached the men and demanded their vehicle. Both men claimed not to have the keys and Harris was shot, his body thrown out of the car. Harris said her nephew tried to stand up but stumbled. By the time he was airlifted to a hospital, Yvette Harris said her nephew had lost too much blood.
Harris' father will be buried Saturday. The family is still making funeral arrangements for Harris.