16-year-old killed, others charged after robbery attempt, shooting on interstate

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Police say a deadly shooting on Interstate 85 was not a case of road rage. It instead was connected to a suspected robbing crew.

The shooting began Tuesday night along the interstate at Indian Trail Lilburn Road and went on for about two miles. It ended in a parking lot at 950 Indian Trail Road.

Authorities said the suspects initially told investigators the shooting was a case of road rage, but now they believe the suspects made up the story and were actually a robbing crew targeting a gray Nissan Altima.

“It was in relatively short order that the officers felt like the story they were being told wasn't true,” said Gwinnett Police Sgt. Jake Smith.

The person in the Altima fired shots at the group, police said.

One of the people in their car was killed. He was identified as 16-year-old Junior Lanuza-Gutierrez. School officials confirmed he was a former Dunwoody High School student. Another suspect, Erik Vargas, was injured. There were five people in the car that was fired on.

The three surviving suspects were identified as Harry Richardson, Anthoney Esquero and Kevin Gallardo. They were charged with felony murder and criminal attempt at robbery.

Students at Dunwoody High School told Channel 2 Action News that they knew Lanuza-Gutierrez.


“Junior was a very nice friend,” said student Ethan Rice. “It was pretty shocking, it was scary.”

Detectives are still trying to identify the person in the Altima who fired the shots.

“We need their side of events to figure out if these shots were fired in self-defense or retaliation,” Smith said.