Riverdale teen killed in Atlanta gunfight

By Billy Corriher

A Riverdale teenager was killed Saturday morning by a stray bullet in a gunfight outside an Atlanta nightclub.

Marcus Johnson, 17, was hanging out with a group of 50 to 60 other Riverdale teens in a parking lot near Atlanta's Club NV when a gunfight broke out around 1:40 a.m.

Witnesses told police that an unrelated fight had spilled out of the club and into the parking lot, where several men pulled out guns and began firing at people and into the air.

Johnson died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Sgt. John Quigley, Atlanta Police Department spokesman, said Johnson was probably an "unintended victim" in the gunfight.

Quigley said 20-year-old Otis Kurtz was charged in the death.

Johnson was a senior at Riverdale High School, where he ran track and played basketball and football.

Terry Beckham, Johnson's track coach for three years, said he could hardly believe it when he heard of the shooting.

Johnson was one of the best 400- and 800-meter runners on the team, Beckham said, and he was a "tremendous team leader."

"He was an exceptional athlete with plenty of character," he said.

Johnson wanted to attend college to run track, Beckham said.

"We had some schools interested in him," he said. "We had planned on getting him a scholarship."

Beckham said the young man's death would be particularly tough for his teammates.

Rodney Hackney, Johnson's football coach, said he only had Johnson on his team for a year, but he made an impact.

"He was a really good athlete," he said. "He worked real hard, and he was a real positive kid."