Law enforcement officials said Monday a fatal shooting outside the Branch House Tavern in Flowery Branch early Saturday morning was an act of self-defense.
“At this point, everything that we are seeing, which is supported by all the evidence and the facts and circumstances, this appears to be a self-defense case,” Flowery Branch Police Chief David Spillers told The Times. “Everything is consistent, in terms of the physical evidence ... the witness statements, the video footage.”
According to officials, after the bar closed around 2 a.m., Donald Lee Battle Jr. of Buford confronted Dustin Cody Holcombe of Homer and his date, Olivia McClure, in a parking lot across the street, pointing a handgun in their direction and verbally threatening the couple. Battle’s cousin, Devon Owens of Flowery Branch, also was at the scene.
“Mr. Holcombe retreated to his car, where he had a firearm, and ended up shooting and killing Mr. Battle,” Spillers said.
When officers responded, Battle was still alive, but he was later pronounced dead at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
According to police, Battle did not fire his gun, and it is unknown what motivated him to confront Holcombe.
“We do not know the answer to that particular question — not with any degree of certainty,” Spillers said. “Sometimes when you mix that alcohol and testosterone, then you end up with a volatile mixture.”
Tavern manager Ryan Battles told The Times on Saturday the two men had not been involved in any kind of altercation before leaving the bar. Spillers confirmed that Monday, saying Battle and Holcombe had no prior confrontation, “not even an exchange of glances.”
“Some of them were here for at least an hour or so playing pool and hanging out, having a good time,” Battles said. “And then somehow once they left, something happened between them, and the rest is history.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to process the scene. Flowery Branch police are continuing to investigate.