Article Dated: 6/10/2012 by Joe Johnson
A 55-year-old Athens man is in critical condition this morning after he was shot by the owner of a Westside check-cashing business who fired in self-defense when the man pulled a gun, Athens-Clarke police said.
Donald Collins is under police guard in the intensive care unit of Athens Regional Medical Center, where was treated for gunshot wounds to his face and head, police said.
Collins, who is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of firearm in the commission of a crime, is a possible suspect in an armed robbery of a convenience store in Five Points two weeks ago.
Collins was shot Saturday morning by the 75-year-old owner of Classic Cash, 2141 W. Broad St., police said.
While preparing to open the business shortly before 9 a.m., the owner opened a side door to let in an employee when he noticed a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt run across the parking lot, police said. After the employee was inside, the owner locked the door and saw Collins on the porch of the employees’ entrance, police said.
“I’m pretty sure (Collins) was trying to hurry up and get into the business before the door was locked,” Athens-Clarke police Capt. Clarence Holeman said. “It appears his plan was to go inside and rob the owner.”
The owner got his licensed handgun and opened the door to find out what the man was up to, police said, as Collins ran into a storage room attached to the business.
The business owner alerted Collins that he was armed and called for him to show himself. When Collins came out pointing a pistol at him, the businessman fired his gun three times, striking Colllins twice, police said.
Holeman, commander of the Athens-Clarke police Centralized Criminal Investigations Division, believes Collins had planned to rob Classic Cash and that he ran to the porch of the employee’s entrance before the owner could lock it.
The shooting was a justified case of self-defense, according to Holeman, who added, “we advocate for people to call 911 and let us check to see what is going on.”
Collins has a history of violent crime that includes robbery, and fits the general description of the man who held up On the Way Chevron on Baxter Street early the morning of June 1.
The gun Collins had was fully loaded, and fit the description of the weapon brandished during the earlier robbery, Holeman said.