by: Richard Elliot Updated:
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - DeKalb police said two men shot and killed each other during a fight outside a funeral at a Stone Mountain church Thursday as tensions between two rival groups escalated into violence.
The men are identified as 19-year-old Carlos Henderson, Jr. and 28-year-old Delmetrius Heard.
"You can imagine how hectic a situation it was yesterday," said DeKalb Public Safety Director William Miller.
Miller described a complicated plot of how a robbery back in May led to three deaths.
Detectives believe Marcus Ventress shot and killed Ryan Guider on May 26 because he thought Guider robbed and punched Ventress' mother.
Records show Guider was staying with a friend at the Crestview Apartments off
Snapfinger Woods Drive in Decatur.
Before the murder, Ventress is also accused of shooting into another apartment where he thought Guider was living.
Guider's family held his funeral Thursday afternoon at the Victory For The World church on North Hairston Road in Stone Mountain.
During the funeral service, witnesses said some of Ventress' friends crashed the funeral.
"It started inside the funeral," said a witness who asked not to be identified. "It wasn't the actual shooter (Ventress) that came to the funeral, but it was people from his entourage. The people inside the church were kind of mad about it. Then, it came outside, and once they put the body in the hearse, the fight broke out."
Other witnesses described seeing a mob fighting outside the church that eventually spilled over into a side parking lot. Henderson, who was friends with Guider, and Heard, who was friends with Ventress, pulled guns and started shooting.
Two bystanders, including a 12-year-old girl, were injured in the melee before both men shot and killed each other. The bystanders are expected to recover.
"After everything settled down, you look up and see Carlos on the ground, and you see the other guy in the car dead -- it was like something from a movie," said thewitness.
Miller is worried the violence will continue until they are able to find and arrest Ventress and charge him with Guider's murder. DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies have active warrants for his arrest. They say he has a lengthy criminal history and they believe he is armed and dangerous.
"I can see more violence until we break the cycle," said Miller, adding that officers will be present at Heard and Henderson's funerals, to try to prevent any more deaths.