Georgia RaceTrac clerk killed; deputies searching for ‘armed, dangerous’ shooter

OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. — Authorities are searching for the person who shot and killed a RaceTrac clerk overnight in Oconee County.

The shooting happened between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. at the location at Hog Mountain Road and Highway 441.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office released photos of the masked shooter, dressed in all black and armed with a handgun.

Authorities said suspect is still at large and considered armed and dangerous.

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The victim was identified as 23-year-old Elijah Wood of Oconee County.

“This is a tough day for us. We know Elijah and his family well, in a good way. We didn’t have to look up his father’s address because we already knew where he lives,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

A family friend said Wood and his twin sister would have turned 24 together later this month.

“He was a big family man and believed in family and always making special effort’s to be a part of the family,” his brother-in-law, James Lemmonds, wrote on a GoFundMe set up to help cover funeral expenses. “He loved his God and his country and was always willing to help anyone he felt was in need. He would go out of his way to check on you. He will be truly missed and always loved. This world has lost a treasure.”

On 3/19/2021 at approximately 1:40 AM, we responded to a person shot call at the RaceTrac located at 7921 Macon Highway....

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Friday, March 19, 2021

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was in Oconee County, where the gas station is still shut down.

Fernandes talked to Oconee County Sheriff James Hale, who said someone called 911 to report a person shot after finding Woods dead at the store.

“The call originated from a patron who discovered the victim on the floor as he was trying to buy some stuff on his way to work this morning,” Hale said

Hall said that because the suspect was completely covered up, it will be hard to identify who it is.

“The suspect, he was covered from head to toe,” Hall said. “It’s hard to tell race, its really hard to tell gender.”

The sheriff’s office also posted a photo of a man they want to speak with, who may be a potential witness. The office wants to be clear that the man is not a suspect and it “is imperative that we speak with that individual.”

Fernandes talked to one customer who started to cry when she heard the news of Woods’ death.

“He was always polite and gracious and very warm,” she said.

Customers said Woods was well-known and loved by man in the community.

“I used to tease him because he had dark curly hair, and I would say, ‘Tell your mother that you have beautiful hair and that you’re a beautiful young man with splendid manners,’” a customer said. “Yes, I know that people are hurting now but they don’t need to hurt other people. Just ask for help.”

It’s been two years since anyone has been murdered in Oconee County, so the tragedy has rocked the community.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact Investigator Eaton at zeaton@oconeesheriff.org or 706-769-3945.