Cops find China Cafe fatal robbery getaway car in Athens

The vehicle used in the Oct. 11 deadly armed robbery of the China Cafe in Fayetteville has been found at an apartment complex in Athens, 93 miles away. Fayetteville investigators processed the vehicle and found undisclosed evidence relating to the robbery.

Two of the robbers are now dead, while a cafe employee is being treated for a gunshot wound.

The incident at the China Cafe on North Glynn Street occurred at at approximately 11 p.m. on Oct. 11 when two men brandishing handguns entered the rear door of the restaurant and held three employees at gunpoint.

Fayetteville Det. Mike Whitlow said the getaway vehicle was found last week by an Athens-Clarke County police officer in the Midtown Bethel Village apartment complex in Athens.

“We don’t know how the car got to Athens,” Whitlow said. “We had the car towed back to Fayetteville, then we processed it and found evidence relating to the armed robbery.”

Whitlow said he could not comment on the nature of the evidence found in the vehicle.

One of the employees during the armed robbery produced a handgun and fired, hitting 25-year-old Morrow resident Alonzo Starks in the head. The other robber, 37-year-old Leandro Johnson, returned fire, striking the employee. Johnson and Starks fled, making their escape with the help of alleged getaway driver, 26-year-old Jonesboro resident Alvin Scott.

The most recent report on the status of the China Cafe employee, from last week, had him listed in critical condition.

Starks later died from the gunshot wounds. His body was found in an abandoned house in Morrow.

Johnson died on Oct. 22 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His body was found in the closet of a relative’s home in Covington.

Scott was arrested on Oct. 14 after investigators received a tip from the man’s relatives. Scott is charged with one count of murder, seven counts of aggravated assault, six counts of kidnapping and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The murder charge stems from the death of Starks, based on the legal theory that by participating in the armed robbery, Scott can be charged with murder even though he was not the one who fired the deadly shot.

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