HELEN, Ga. - Visitors in the north Georgia town of Helen say they're thinking twice about coming back following a weekend deadly shooting that left a tourist dead.
Police said a stray bullet came from a small-caliber handgun carried by a 53-year-old man from Jasper, Ga. The gun accidentally discharged, and the bullet traveled across Helen’s tourist-laden Main Street and struck 68-year-old May Araim, of Houston, Texas, in the side.
Channel 2’s Tom Regan spoke to Judy and Danny Brown. A couple Ohio couple is visiting the Alpine Lake Village of Helen. They were stunned to learn about the deadly shooting.
“People are here to have fun have a good time and enjoy themselves out in the mountains. And then for such a tragedy to happen, that's very sad," said Danny Brown.
Helen police say they responded to an emergency call around 10:20 p.m. Saturday and discovered Glenn Lampien on a sidewalk bench with a bloodied hand. They say Lampien
accidentally fired his handgun, which wounded him and the bullet ricocheted across the street, hitting Araim.
“There's a woman lying on the ground. People come up and start giving here CPR; lifts up the back of her, sees blood and realize she's been shot," said Leah Letson.
Letson, a candy clerk, says bystanders made a desperate effort to save the victim.
Lampien, a business owner from Jasper, is charged with felony involuntary manslaughter. Channel 2’s Tom Regan tried to call Lampien, but there was no answer.
A woman who has held many family reunions in Helen says the shooting, though accidental, is upsetting.
“It definitely makes us feel a little more wary about letting our kids out by themselves,” said tourist Judy Hilton.
“It’s just heartbreaking. You come on vacation. You don't expect something like this happen," she said.
Regan was told the Helen mayor and police chief were not available to discuss the shooting.