A 21-year-old Gainesville man has been charged with murder in Friday’s shooting death of an auto dealership employee.
Mark Antonio Taylor II is being held without bail at the Hall County Jail. He also faces charges of armed robbery, theft by taking of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
“This is believed to have been a random crime,” said Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, Gainesville police spokesman. “There is no indication that the victim or the Carriage Auto Group was specifically targeted.”
Gainesville police were called about 8 a.m. Friday to Carriage Mitsubishi at 2801 Browns Bridge Road, after an employee found Charles Weaver’s body in the rear of the complex. Weaver, 42, lived in Gainesville.
Authorities said the shooting likely occurred in the early morning hours Friday, or before the business was open to customers.
Police, discovering that a red 2011 Nissan Frontier pickup truck with dealership markings was missing, said they believe it was stolen from the scene.
Through the media, investigators started asking the public for help, particularly if anyone had noticed a suspicious person or vehicle between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. in the Browns Bridge-McEver Road corridor.
“This is a highly traveled area. We are hoping that someone may have noticed something that will further assist detectives in the investigation,” states a police news release.
Law enforcement got a break in the case Saturday when authorities, acting on a tip, found the truck in Atlanta.
“The vehicle was very distinctive,” Holbrook said Sunday. “It was our thoughts that the vehicle would stand out to the public.”
At the time, the person who spotted the vehicle “didn’t know the circumstances surrounding the vehicle until they had information on a newscast revealing the details and circumstances of that vehicle,” he said.
The truck’s discovery then “led us to a possible person of interest,” Holbrook said.
Gainesville police have worked with the Hall-Dawson District Attorney’s Office, Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol and other agencies on the case.
“We were able to execute a search warrant (Sunday) morning in Atlanta with assistance of the Atlanta Police Department,” Holbrook said.
“Due to the nature of the crime at hand, it was determined, for safety and security of officers and other individuals, that it would be best if the (Atlanta police’s) SWAT team made contact and made entry ... in executing the search warrant,” he added.
Holbrook said that “many agencies worked together to solve this case and bring closure to the victim’s family, friends and co-workers.”
The case is still under investigation, but “we are confident (Taylor) is the one responsible for this crime and are not currently seeking anyone else in connection to it,” Holbrook said.
He declined to comment on any evidence that led to the arrest.
“Due to the ongoing investigation, we are not at liberty to divulge that information,” Holbrook said.
Employees answering the phone Sunday evening at Carriage Automotive Group declined comment.
The company is offering a $10,000 reward in the case.