Booting company employee shoots man outside Buckhead bar, police say

The man's friend drove him to a local hospital.

ATLANTA — Atlanta police are investigating after an employee of a booting company shot and injured a man who called him to remove a boot from his car.

Police told Channel 2's Michael Seiden a man, identified as 27-year-old Matt Stevens, and his friend went out to a few bars in Buckhead, and when they returned to their vehicle, they found a boot on it.

They called Empire Parking Services, the booting company, but when the employee arrived, they started arguing with each other, and at some point, the employee shot Stevens in the leg, investigators said.

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“My life could’ve been taken," Stevens said.

Stevens invited Seiden into his home Friday, where he showed him his bloodstained hoodie and the bullet holes left behind.

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"I paid for parking," Stevens said. "We went to the bar we were going to and then came back and noticed that there was a boot on my car."

Stevens said after he and his best friend called the number on a sticker, the situation got tense when the employee from Empire Parking Services refused to take his money.

"He didn't like the way I paid him, so he refused to take the boot off," Stevens said.

The two began to argue, and that's when Stevens said the parking attendant walked back to his SUV, grabbed a gun and shot him in the leg.

"I was fearing for my life. I put my hands up, saying, 'Chill! Chill! Chill!'" Stevens said. "At first I didn't even notice I was shot, but I felt myself limping."

Stevens' attorney said the company never should've booted his client's car in the first place.

"This is attempted murder, and the city of Atlanta needs to step up and do something about it before someone gets killed," attorney Matt Wetherington said.

Wetherington said his client never posed a threat.

"This was an illegal booting from the jump. This company had no right to boot there. They were operating outside the boundaries of the law, and they attempted to kill him," Wetherington said.

Seiden contacted Empire Parking Services, and a company representative sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

"We are fully cooperating with the police as they investigate this matter and expect our company and our employee will be fully exonerated."

"You shot somebody! How can you just shoot somebody and you're not in jail?" Stevens asked.

Seiden reached out to the Atlanta Police Department, and a spokeswoman told him that it's still an ongoing investigation and right now, no one is facing charges.

Stevens said he was supposed to be in Florida this weekend to bury his grandfather, but now he has to stay back and miss his loved one's funeral because of his injuries.

His attorney said that he and his law firm are continuing to fight for justice, hoping the city of Atlanta will one day pass an ordinance that bans booting companies from operating within the city limits.