Barber shop owner killed, police seek two possible suspects - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Barber shop owner gunned down, police seek two possible suspects

Charlie Artis, the owner of a local barber shop in Gunboat Plaza off Gunboat Drive in Columbus, died Thursday afternoon after officials say he suffered a gun shot wound in his left side. Charlie Artis, the owner of a local barber shop in Gunboat Plaza off Gunboat Drive in Columbus, died Thursday afternoon after officials say he suffered a gun shot wound in his left side.
Investigators searched the immediate area for evidence. (Source: Mackenzie Patterson) Investigators searched the immediate area for evidence. (Source: Mackenzie Patterson)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's the city's first murder of the year and now, Columbus police are searching for two possible suspects in a shooting that left one Columbus man dead and his family asking for answers.

Charlie Artis, the owner of a local barber shop in Gunboat Plaza off Gunboat Drive in Columbus, died Thursday afternoon after officials say he suffered a gunshot wound in his left side.

"I can't.  It just hurts me to talk right now," said the victim's father, Charlie Artis, Sr.

The father says he is in disbelief that his 30-year-old son was murdered.

"My son never bothered [anybody]. He was a good person.  Anybody you asked to talk about him, they got nothing negative [to say] about him whatsoever.  So, I don't see why he left this world," said the father.

Family members say cutting hair was a passion for Artis who worked hard to be able to open his own barbershop, Charlie's Barbershop, off Gunboat Drive in Columbus.  Family members say he owned the business for about two years.

However, on Thursday, Columbus police say it appears Artis, the victim, was shot in front of his business.  Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower says the victim had a gunshot wound on his left side.  The victim's body will be sent for an autopsy in Atlanta on Friday.

Columbus police say they received a call about the crime at about 3:00 Thursday afternoon.  Muscogee County Coroner pronounced Artis dead around 3:40 pm.

"Where do we go from here?  All I say, we go right now from here is mourning.  That's about the only place I know to go right now.  Just mourn a little bit.  Get it out of my system.  Cry a little bit, and get it all over with," said the father.

This is not the first time the shopping center has seen a fatal crime.  In 2009, a man was shot in the back and killed after leaving another barber shop.

Thursday, by-standers filled the shopping plaza.   Some were crying and others were in shock.

Police, in the meantime, searched for leads.  Some searched the surrounding woods looking for evidence or any signs of a possible person of interest seen leaving the plaza.  Artis' father says the family is begging for anyone to help find who killed his son, who he describes as kind, goofy, and generous.

"The only thing I say, in the name of Jesus, is that justice be served.  That's all.  That's all."

Police are seeking the public's help in finding two possible suspects. The first suspect is described as a black male, around 16 to 22 years of age,  about 5'10", slender build and having a medium-to-light complexion. He was wearing a royal blue jacket or hoody, long black long shorts, white socks that were pulled up and dreadlocks. 

The second suspect is said to be the driver of the vehicle. He is also described as a black male in his early 20s, but having a dark complexion and a short haircut. 

He was driving the getaway car which witnesses describe to police as being an older model, green, four-door, compact car with factory wheels and no widow tint.  It is believed that the car was had two to three other male occupants. 

If you have any information on the whereabouts of these suspects you are urged to call Columbus police at (706) 653-3400.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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