Clayton detectives seeking car

By Daniel Silliman


Following the strongest lead out of a scant selection of leads, Clayton County Police have released a wanted poster for a car.

The "Be On the Look Out" (BOLO) poster, released this week, shows three pictures of a burnt-orange Chevrolet HHR, the same make, model and color of the vehicle seen leaving the scene of a murder on Sunday, Oct. 4.

The vehicle was seen speeding away from 701 Mt. Zion Road, after 51-year-old Harold L. Anderson was shot with a .40-caliber gun at about 2 a.m.

One witness described the car as a red or orange, mid-sized car. Another described it as dark red, or burnt-orange suburban. After further questions, Detectives Steve Rotella and Renan Lopez decided they were looking for the newer model, compact sports vehicle, made by General Motors.

The witnesses said the vehicle pulled to the side of the road, where Anderson was walking while wearing a black, knit cap, blue jeans and a black-and-white sweat jacket. A man got out of the vehicle, the witnesses said.

Witnesses told police Anderson said, "Don't shoot me." He was shot once on the left side of his chest, near his arm pit, according to the police report. Responding officers found him laying on the ground, with his hands up near his head. He was pronounced dead at about 2:30 a.m.

Sgt. Rebecca Brown said the detectives know little about Anderson's personal life, other than he was living in an extended-stay motel. The witnesses did not get a good look at the assailant, and detectives don't have any descriptions of the suspect. Witnesses did not record a license plate number. Very little was found at the scene, aside from a single, shell casing.

The description of a car is the strongest lead detectives Rotella and Lopez say they now have in the case.

The detectives asked patrol officers, on Wednesday, to watch Mt. Zion Road for the Chevrolet HHR, urging them to make traffic stops and identify vehicle occupants.

Though the car color seems distinctive, it is one of 11 standard colors for the HHR, according to the manufacturer's web site. Officially, the "burnt orange" color is called "Metallic Sunbust Orange II."

While catching a murder suspect based on a somewhat vague car description may seem like a long-shot, the same detectives did make a homicide arrest in another case recently, using the same method. Investigating the Aug. 5 parking lot shooting of Indalecio Gallegos, Lopez and Rotella were told the shooter had left the scene in a silver-colored Honda Civic.

Police, patrolling through a mobile home park near the shooting scene, were able to find a car matching the make, model and color witnesses described. Through the car, the detectives got an identification of their suspect, and eventually made an arrest.

Anyone who has seen a burnt-orange, Chevrolet HHR on Mt. Zion, especially in the area of The Parks Apartments and the Majic Food Mart, is asked to call Rotella at (770) 477-3624.