GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Police are investigating after a north Georgia businessman was shot and killed outside a CVS store in Hall County Thursday night.
The shooting happened at the CVS on Parkhill Drive in Gainesville around 7:45 p.m.
Investigators say a man wearing all black clothing, a hoodie and a mask was seen by several people wandering in the parking lot outside the store.
Businessman Jack Hough, 73, was sitting inside his car in the parking lot while his wife went inside the store.
Police believe the man approached Hough in an attempt to carjack or rob him and the two began to struggle. Hough was shot in the chest and rushed to a hospital, where he died.
"It's senseless. I'm numb. I mean, my wife last night said she couldn't cry anymore," close friend Andy Piucci said. "He was a great friend and just a wonderful person. It's just horrible."
The gunman took off. K-9 units, officers and a helicopter searched the area for the shooter, who is still on the loose. Investigators believe he may have had a getaway driver nearby.
Hough, an Air Force veteran, was well-known in the community. He built a hugely successful business developing and operating food courts in malls and airports across the country. He was also a big philanthropist.
"He was involved in many charities, especially 'We Care' with his wife, Gail," Piucci said.
Police say one of the few clues they have is a grainy surveillance picture of the gunman moments before he shot Hough in his Mercedes sedan.
"There are people who know who attacked this man. I hope they can't sleep until they come and let us know what they know," Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said.
Parrish said he grieves for Hough's widow.
"I can't imagine what it would be like to walk out of that business and find citizens rendering aide to my spouse. That's what breaks my heart and keeps me up and driven to find this man," he said.
Friends say they and others are chipping in to set up a $25,000 reward for information that sparks tips that lead to an arrest.
"He will be greatly missed," Piucci said.
Friday afternoon, someone had placed flowers in the parking space where Hough was killed. Online, friends left emotional tributes.
Cox Media Group