Vanessa Elaine Thrasher, owner of O.T.'s Lounge and Soul Food Grill
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Police have made at least one arrest in a fatal shooting at a northwest Atlanta lounge and they're still looking for two more murder suspects.
Otis Ricks Jr., 23, was taken into custody Friday morning at the Hotel Magnolia on Old Dixie Highway. Atlanta Police spokeswoman Kim Jones said Ricks is accused of killing 53-year-old owner Vanessa Elaine Thrasher inside O.T.'s Lounge and Soul Food Grill on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard early Thursday.
Police say Ricks has a history of armed robbery arrests.
A witness told police that two men got into an argument in the business, then pulled out guns and fired several shots. Thrasher was shot seven times and died at the scene. A police officer patrolling nearby heard the gunshots and discovered Thrasher's body at around 2 a.m.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said the killing devastated his staff.
"Several of my employees left work because they were so emotionally destroyed by what happened," Howard told 11 Alive News on Friday.
Howard said his office was hit hard because Thrasher had been there only a few hours before her death to discuss her testimony in an upcoming murder trial next week.
At first he feared she might have been targeted to keep her from testifying, but now he doesn't think so.
"It looks like at this moment that is it not related, that it's probably just going to be an armed robbery," Howard added.
11 Alive News has learned that a man showed up at South Fulton Regional Hospital with a gunshot wound early Thursday morning and had Thrasher's wallet on him.
He was treated and allowed to leave.
It's not clear yet if the man may have been wounded by return gunfire from victim Thrasher or from a bullet fired by one of his fellow suspects.
Now Atlanta Police are trying to track down the other two murder suspects seen in photos from the bar's security cameras.
11 Alive was the first to tell some of Thrasher's friends about the arrest outside her restaurant on Friday.
"Well, that's good news," said Randy Jordan.
"It means police (are) on their job and we appreciate their help and all they're doing," he added.
As for the suspects, Jordan said, "They should be punished to the full extent of the law."
Police are asking for the public's help to identify the remaining two suspects and ask that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477.
Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.