By Danny Harrison
Fayetteville Police on Wednesday released images captured of a car and its passengers, who they say are persons of interest in the June 7 shooting death of 27-year-old Applebee’s manager Gregory Smith.
The images were taken from a video camera located on the back side of the Applebee’s building, which is located on Hwy. 85 south of Banks Road and north of the Hwy. 314 and North Jeff Davis Drive intersection. The images show what police say appears to be a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu sedan passing the rear of the building at 2:56 a.m. on that Sunday morning, June 7, just two minutes before Smith was seen on an interior camera leaving the front door of the restaurant.
Smith, a College Park resident, was the manager on duty that night and was closing the restaurant. Police say he did not have any large amount of money on him as he left the building, and they have not yet publicly announced any suspected motive in the shooting.
Smith was found dead in his car more than three hours later by his girlfriend who was concerned when she realized he had not come home yet. Their 15-month-old daughter was with Smith’s girlfriend when she drove to the Applebee’s location looking for Smith.
For weeks, police have been asking the public who may have seen strange happenings around Applebee’s during that early-morning time frame to call Fayetteville Police Detective Scott Gibson at 770-719-4226 with any of that information. Public Information Officer Mike Whitlow says even seeing something strange at a nearby gas station during that same time period, for example, could shed light on what was happening that morning.
Police have also been gathering footage from security cameras on other nearby businesses in hopes they may have caught images of what was happening in the Applebee’s parking lot that night.