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Phone store owner, two others charged after scuffle, gunshot
Yo Han Choi

The owner of an Oakwood Boost Mobile store is behind bars after a Sept. 28 incident at the store, where authorities say he tried to break up a fight and then fired a handgun outside the store. 

Store owner Yo Han Choi, 31, of Sugar Hill, faces charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, battery and reckless conduct. Two others involved also face charges. 

Oakwood Police received a report of a possible gunman and a person shot around 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at the College Square shopping center on Mundy Mill Road.    

Police received information that a Nissan Sentra was leaving the scene, and a Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled over a car matching the description near Atlanta Highway and Interstate 985. 

Raul Antonio Rios

Raul Antonio Rios, 21, and Esmeralda Martinez-Valdez, 23, both of Gainesville, were in the car, and police said Rios was found bleeding from the head and telling officers he had been shot. Officers later confirmed that, while the gun was fired, the shot did not hit anyone. 

Oakwood Police Lt. Todd Templeton said officers also spoke with Choi and an employee of the Boost Mobile store. 

Esmeralda Martinez-Valdez

Authorities said Martinez-Valdez was allegedly asked to leave the Gainesville Boost Mobile store “due to unruly behavior against employees" the day before the incident. The employee who asked the woman to leave the day prior was working at the Oakwood store that day, and when Martinez-Valdez saw the employee, she became angry, Templeton said. 

Choi tried to break up the fight that ensued but was then allegedly assaulted by Rios, Templeton said. 

Choi retrieved a handgun, which led Rios and Martinez-Valdez to leave the store and try to get away in the Nissan Sentra, police said. 

After the initial incident, officers spoke with witnesses, who said Choi followed Rios and Martinez-Valdez out of the store while the two were trying to leave. 

“Choi was observed holding Rios and striking him in the head with the handgun while Rios and Martinez-Valdez were attempting to leave the location,” Templeton wrote in a news release. 

Rios and Martinez-Valdez were also charged with two counts of battery, and Rios was additionally charged with giving false information to law enforcement and driving on a suspended license.  

Templeton said Rios gave a false name and birthday to law enforcement. He was treated for his injuries at the hospital before being taken to the jail. 

No attorney information was available for Rios, Martinez-Valdez or Choi Tuesday, Oct. 6. 

Rios and Martinez-Valdez were released from the jail Sept. 29, but Magistrate Court officials did not immediately have information on the bond.