By Daniel Silliman
A 16-year-old boy was gunned down Sunday night, and died with his eyes open, lying next to a residential road.
Dana Varner, of Riverdale, was killed in a drive-by shooting and died on the lawn at 7398 Caribou Lane, in Riverdale, at about 11 p.m.
Witnesses told police there was a small group of teenagers on the lawn at the edge of the road, when an SUV drove down the street with its lights off, with someone shooting a gun from the window of the passing vehicle.
One witness said it was a red SUV with flashing lights, according to the police report. Another identified the car as a Lincoln Navigator. Both witnesses said that when the shooting started, everyone just ran, but the 16-year-old was caught by a bullet.
"It just seemed like teens standing out talking," said Lt. Rebecca Brown, department spokeswoman. "They all started running and, unfortunately, he was the one that was hit."
The bullet that killed the boy was a 7.62x39-caliber bullet, the sort shot out of an AK-47 assault rifle. Witnesses didn't see the gun, but crime scene investigators found six shell casings scattered around the scene. One, according to the police report, was a mere 10 feet from the dead 16-year-old.
On Monday, police didn't know what motivated the shooting. They couldn't say for sure if the shooting was gang-related, drug-related, a retaliation, or even if it was just random.
"It's hard to tell, with teenagers," Brown said. "They're into so many things today. It's impossible to tell."
The lieutenant said there was no reason to believe 16-year-old Varner was targeted by the shooter in the SUV, but detectives don't have a lot of information to go on, aside from looking at where the shooting happened, and who was there when it happened.
The investigation is being headed by Detective Michael Medious. Anyone with information about a red SUV, an AK-47, or the drive-by shooting, is asked to call Medious at (678) 610-4743.