DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Police say a missing man was found shot and killed in a car in a parking lot.
One of the man’s friends told Channel 2’s Lori Wilson that the victim was trying to turn his life around.
Investigators said the crime was not a random act.
Police said Sergio Collins, 27, was murdered by someone he was with earlier this week. Family members are calling his death a wake-up call.
“He was raised in and out of group homes, the foster care system, family members and he was basically kind of the victim of the socialization of his environment,” Shalise Steele-Young told Wilson.
Steele-Young has a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless and knows Collins and his family.
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A relative reported Collins missing Tuesday. Early Friday morning, police found Collins’ car in a parking lot in a Lithonia shopping center.
Collins was slumped over the wheel inside. Police shattered his window to reach him and pronounced him dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
“As soon as we received that missing person’s report, there was an indication that there may have been violence involved,” Capt. Reginald Moorman with the Atlanta Police Department’s major crimes unit told Wilson.
Collins’ sister remembers the good times she had with her older brother.
“I remember Sergio always laughing, and joking, and playing and being a good father to his child,” Warrell Collins told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson.
She said the family has felt nothing but pain since Sergio disappeared.
“Just thinking about him every minute, every hour, when its cold outside, to see if he's cold, just wondering, where could he be?” Warrell Collins said.
Steele-Young said Collins' story was about too little, too late.
“We had the opportunity to talk with him a few months ago and he said he wanted to turn his life around. He had gotten into some trouble in the streets, but he wanted to turn his life around, he started working,” Steele-Young said.
But she said Collins would have trouble getting to work sometimes, which made turning his life around hard.
“He would say every time he started to work, his car would break down and they would get a little impatient and discouraged, so he would kind of go back to survival mode and kind of go back to what was familiar,” Steele-Young told Wilson.
Collins’ sister wants to know who would kill her brother.
“Who would do this to him? Somebody very evil and heartless, don't have no heart,” Warrell Collins said. “I just want him to turn himself in.”
Police said Collins was shot and killed by someone he was with. They have interviewed some witnesses but are asking more to come forward.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Collins' fiance to help with expenses.
Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.
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