Fish house shooting suspects in court

By Ed Brock

The motive remains unclear for the double shooting at a Riverdale restaurant that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

Brothers, 29-year-old Jose, and 18-year-old Alejandro Romo, have been charged with malice murder and other charges in connection with the June 23 shooting at Salt and Pepper Fish House on Ga. Highway 138 in Riverdale. During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday Riverdale Police Detective Linda Lash said the only thing taken from the restaurant was a gun that the employees kept up front.

"No money was taken," Lash said. "Everything was exactly where it was supposed to be in the register."

On the day of the robbery there were two people working at the Salt and Pepper, 36-year-old Garret Lockhart of Stockbridge and 40-year-old Samuel Richardson of Tucker.

Lockhart survived the shooting and managed to stagger outside the restaurant, collapsing in front of the store next door in the strip mall, Lash said. Richardson was found dead inside.

Lash said she interviewed Lockhart about what happened. Lockhart told her a Hispanic male entered the restaurant shortly after noon when they had just opened. The man looked a menu and ordered something, and as Lockhart was preparing the order another Hispanic male entered.

Lockhart heard noises from the kitchen area and saw the second male struggling with Richardson. He heard gunshots and turned to run, at which time he was shot twice in the back. He fell and was shot in the face, then managed to get out the door.

"He said they didn't ask for money," Lash said.

Lockhart may not walk again due to his wounds, Lash said, or he will be permanently disabled in his right leg. Also, Lockhart positively identified the Romos brothers from a photo line up.

A witness told police that she saw two men running from the store with black duffle bags in their hands. They got into a black Jeep Cherokee and drove off.

"One of the witnesses stated she thought something was unusual because the men were running from the store so she decided to write the tag number down," Lash said.

Police traced the tag to a home in Lawrenceville where the brothers lived and spoke to two sisters the men who said their brothers had borrowed the Jeep earlier that day. The brothers had then returned and left again in a Toyota RAV-4.

Investigators searched the house and found a sawed-off shotgun and a .32-caliber pistol in Jose's room. The brothers were arrested July 10 in San Benito, Texas and brought back to Georgia last week.

Other Romo relatives came to the hearing but would not comment much.

"We're just here to support our brothers," said sister Patricia Romos.

Clayton County Magistrate Court Chief Judge Daphne Walker bound the cases over to a grand jury for indictment.