Third arrest made in slaying of Atlanta restaurant owner


Vanessa Thrasher was killed early Thursday morning inside O.T.'s Lounge and Soul Food Grill on Joseph E. Boone and New Jersey Avenue just after 2 a.m.

ATLANTA - Atlanta police say they've made another arrest in connection with the slaying of an Atlanta restaurant owner last month.

Authorities say 53-year-old Vanessa Thrasher was preparing to testify in an upcoming murder trial when she was gunned down at her northwest Atlanta business, OT's Lounge and Soul Food Grill, in August.

Atlanta police said late Sunday that 23-year-old Gerald Peterson was taken into custody over the weekend and was being held in the Fulton County Jail. Jail records show that he faces charges including murder and robbery. He briefly appeared before a judge over the weekend.

Peterson is the third suspect to be arrested in the case. On Aug. 18, Atlanta detectives and U.S. Marshals kicked in a metro motel room door and arrested 23-year-old Otis Ricks.

Police arrested DeMario Carman on Sept. 5. Officers are looking for a fourth suspect known only as "CJ." Police said the suspects are part of a gang called Campbelton Road Gangsters.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has said that Thrasher was a key witness in the trial of a man charged with killing one of her employees in May 2011.

Thrasher was killed just after 2 a.m. on Aug. 16 at her restaurant on Joseph E. Boone and New Jersey Avenue. An officer on patrol heard gunshots and quickly responded to the scene, but the suspects slipped past him, a police spokesman said. Thrasher's family decided to close the restaurant in the days following Thrasher's death.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call CrimeStopppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS. A reward of up to $12,000 was offered for information leading to arrests and conviction of the suspects.