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'Bad drug deal' led to double murder

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

A recent double homicide in Jonesboro is allegedly the result of a drug deal gone awry, according to the Clayton County Police Department.

On Tuesday, police identified Vandit Patel, 22, of Jonesboro, and Jimmy Prak, 23, of Stockbridge, as the victims of a Sunday shooting which took place at approximately 10:47 a.m., between buildings 20 and 24 at Tara Court Apartments, off Tara Boulevard.

According to witnesses, two unidentified black males shot the victims and fled on foot, after the four argued in front of neighbors.

Having found a stash of drugs in a nearby black Acura, police now contend that the shooters and victims were involved in an exchange of drugs and money.

"It is believed that the victims drove the car, but nobody had keys from the car, and nobody saw them drive up in the car, but the initial argument started beside the car," said police spokesperson, Lt. Rebecca Brown.

"We don't believe it belongs to the people who did the shooting, and I don't believe it belongs to the victims, either. Apparently, they were just using it."

Brown said she did not know the year of the vehicle, who it belongs to, or if the car was stolen. "[Investigators] haven't given me any more information from the car except that they got a bunch of drugs from it," she said.

Brown said she also did not know what kind of weapons were used, and whether the victims were armed, or how many times the victims were shot.

"The GBI [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] might not be finished with the investigation, so they haven't mentioned that," she said.

Brown would not disclose what type of drugs were found in the vehicle, for fear of tipping off those responsible for the shooting.

"Murder suspects are still on the lose," she said. "The less information you give to people trying to get out of a crime, the better."

Brown said the police will continue to encourage witnesses to come forward.

"The only thing [investigators] can do is to keep trying to get witnesses to come forward," she said. "A lot of people are afraid to come forward in these cases ... that's why we leave a Crime Stoppers number. If information they leave leads to a conviction, they will get paid."

Anyone with any information, is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at (404) 577-8477.