A Lyft rider and daughter of a city councilman was shot dead after she was caught in the crossfire of a domestic dispute between a passenger and a gunman, Georgia authorities said.
Lauren Allen, 31, had just finished a drop off in Lithonia late Monday, November 21, when gunshots erupted, according to DeKalb County Police. Officers arrived around 8:30 p.m. to find Allen dead in her car from multiple gunshot wounds.
Allen was the daughter of Peachtree Corners City Council member Joe Sawyer, WSB-TV and WXIA reported.
“Our hearts go out to Councilman Sawyer and his family,” a city spokesman said in a statement to McClatchy News. “We are currently in contact and have reassured them that we are here as working family and friends to provide any support they may need.”
Investigators said Allen’s passenger got into an argument with 23-year-old Lerelle Chatman, who was accused of firing multiple shots into the car and hitting Allen. Chatman fled, but officers found him “armed with a gun” at a gas station less than a mile away, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“The man began shooting at officers, damaging multiple patrol cars and a civilian’s vehicle,” investigators said. According to the GBI, police fired back and killed Chatman at the scene.
Sawyer said he was “still in shock” and heartbroken at the loss of his daughter.
“We’re not supposed to bury children,” he told WXIA. “They shall bury us.”
The councilman recalled meeting his daughter at a dollar store earlier that day, adding, “Her last words to me were ‘thank you dad’ and ‘I love you,'” WAGA reported.
Family and friends mourned the loss of Allen whose “spirit and energy was as bright and vibrant as the sun,” according to a GoFundMe set up on behalf of the family. Funeral arrangements were not announced.
“Our hearts go out to the victim and her family as they face this unspeakable tragedy,” a Lyft spokesman said in a statement to McClatchy News. “We have reached out to the driver’s family to offer our assistance and have reached out to law enforcement to offer our assistance in their investigation.”
DeKalb police continue to investigate Allen’s murder while the GBI will investigate the police shooting with Chatman.
Lithonia is about 20 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
This story was originally published Nov 23, 2022 10:58 am.