Police: Suspect may have been waiting in van before killing victim

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ATLANTA - Police said they are investigating a homicide after a man was shot in the abdomen on Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta around 3 p.m. near Chattahoochee Avenue.

"When I ran up to the vehicle blood was everywhere. I mean, the guy was covered. He was moaning. I tried to make contact him. He was holding his chest," said Danny Hamilton, who works across the street at the Star Café restaurant.

Hamilton said he ran to help when he saw a van stop suddenly in the middle of Marietta Boulevard Friday afternoon.

"It looked like a hammer had struck his head several times," Hamilton told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri.

Police said the driver, Ronald Clark, 57, was hit with a hammer and then shot in what appears to be a robbery.

"The gun was laying there and the bullets had ejected out of it. The cartridge had come out of the gun. It looked like there was a struggle for the gun," Hamilton said.

Investigators are looking into whether someone got into Clark's furniture installation van without him knowing and then attacked.

"It could possibly have been someone was lying in wait in his vehicle but that's not been confirmed at this point in time," said Sgt. Ricardo Vazquez with the Atlanta Police Department.

"He was a free-hearted and kind. I mean, he'd give his clothes off his back to anybody," said Keith Ghant, a friend of Clark's.

Ghant said Clark was a trusting person who often left his doors unlocked. He wonders if that's what made him vulnerable.

Witnesses said the man who got out of the van, ran to a waiting black Jeep Cherokee with several people inside which sped off southbound on Marietta Boulevard.

They also said that Jeep had white cloth over the license plate so you couldn't read the number.

"I've never seen anything like this, just see somebody just pounded with a hammer. I don't know what's happening in America," Hamilton said.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.