Hall County

‘He’s trying to kill me:’ Video captures moments after man was shot in terrifying road rage battle

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A man was shot and an innocent bystander left hospitalized after a driver opened fire during a road rage incident in Hall County.

Michael Gabriel says he’s thankful to be alive after surviving a road rage shooting that injured him and left a 65-year-old woman in critical condition.

Gabriel showed Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson the bullet holes still in the SUV he was in Wednesday morning, including one in the driver side headrest. Gabriel was shot once in the shoulder and once in the lower back, but says the injuries are minor.

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“It took a serious hand to God to keep me alive and here today,” he said.

Gabriel says he was heading to a doctor’s appointment Wednesday morning on SR 365 in Gainesville when a driver in a Mustang brake checked him.

“I go around him and just look at him like, ‘What are you thinking?’” said Gabriel.

That’s when he felt a bullet come through his car and hit his shoulder. He remembers hearing three shots.

“There wasn’t a warning shot,” he said. “He was trying to kill me.”


Gabriel says he pulled out his phone to record video and raced to catch up with the Mustang driver to get his license plate number. He dropped his phone as he heard nine more gunshots hit his car near YMCA Drive and SR 365.

Gainesville police responded to 911 calls and arrested 26-year-old Steven Cooper.

Gabriel then learned 65-year-old Paula Blackwell is in critical condition after police say she was hit by one of Cooper’s bullets.

“My family and I, we’ve had her in our prayers,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Gainesville police say Cooper had a two-year-old in the car with him during the shooting. Cooper remains in jail, facing multiple charges.

“It’s so not worth this,” said Gabriel. “If someone makes you mad, wave at them and say a prayer for them.”

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