Update: Jan 30, 5:50 a.m.: Attorney: Increased Crime Made Client Wary
Lilburn police detectives continue to investigate a Saturday shooting on Hillcrest Road that resulted in the city's first homicide since 2005.
In the incident, 22-year-old Rodrigo Diaz, of Duluth, was shot in the driveway of 537 Hillcrest Road in Lilburn. Diaz was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
He had been shot in the left side of his head with a .22-caliber revolver, according to police. He was pronounced dead at 6:10 a.m. on Jan. 27, while in the intensive care unit.
Homeowner Phillip Sailors, 69, was then arrested Sunday and charged in Diaz's death. He reportedly believed that someone was trying to enter his home unannounced.
According to a report released to Patch Tuesday, Diaz was driving with three friends when he arrived to Sailors' home on Saturday evening.
According to the victim's brother, David E. Diaz Valencia, the friends were trying to find the home of a friend of Diaz's girlfriend when they pulled into the wrong driveway by mistake.
In the police report, the friends said they were planning to go skating later that night.
Earlier in the evening, about 8 p.m., the girlfriend's father said he spoke with his daughter, who stated that she was on her way home. He did not know that the friends were headed out elsewhere, according to the report.
After friends pulled into Sailors' driveway, police were dispatched to the scene for "trouble unknown" just after 10 p.m.
While en route, a complainant told emergency dispatchers that a car was in her yard, that people were shouting, and that two gunshots were heard.
Another witness told police that a male subject was overheard yelling "why was someone trying to get inside their house."
According to Valencia, the GPS directed the friends to the wrong house. And, then Sailors started shooting; as Diaz accelerated out of the driveway, he was shot in the head, Valencia said.
"My brother had rolled down the window to apologize,” Valencia said, or the bullet might not have done so much damage.
When police arrived, they observed a woman screaming next to the stopped red Mitsubishi 3000GT, pointed east and driven by Diaz, at the end of the home's driveway.
The driver was slumped over in the driver's seat, with blood covering his face. His breathing was labored, and he was unresponsive.
A female witness, who was later identified as the victim's girlfriend, was "screaming frantically (that) her boyfriend had been shot." Two other friends were standing behind the vehicle.
Sailors then "made a spontaneous utterance that he shot the driver," the police report states.
Diaz's Family Life
According to Valencia, Diaz was one of four brothers and two sisters. Most are living in the Duluth or metro Atlanta area.
He lived with his father, Rodrigo Abad Diaz Diaz; stepmother, Blanca P. Villegas Torres; brother David and younger sister in a home on Pittard Road in Duluth.
The family is originally from Colombia. The father has lived in Duluth for 10 years. Several other family members came to Duluth about seven years ago.
Diaz was studying auto mechanics at Gwinnett Tech, after changing majors from computer programming, according to his brother.
Valencia, whom Patch spoke to Tuesday, said funeral arrangements have not been made yet.
Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley said the incident "was an unfortunate and tragic event" for all involved.
Snellville attorney Mike Puglise, who is representing Sailors, could not be reached for comment.
The last time a person was killed in the city of Lilburn was in 2005 on Inland Way. In that case, a Eunice Castillo, 38, chased down and shot her boyfriend, 43-year-old Keith Newell Boyd. She then turned the gun on herself in apparent murder-suicide.
Patch will follow up on this story as more information becomes available.
--- Duluth Patch Editor Faye Edmundson contributed to this article.