Rodrigo Diaz, 22, of Duluth
LILBURN, Ga. -- Police say a 69-year-old Lilburn man faces a murder charge after authorities say he shot and killed a 22-year-old man who had pulled into his driveway.
Phillip Walker Sailors is being held without bond after the Saturday night shooting outside his home in Lilburn.
An arrest warrant states that 22-year-old Rodrigo Abad Diaz of Duluth was shot in the head as he tried to drive away from Sailors' home.
Sailors' attorney, Michael Puglise, said it was late at night and he assumed the young man arrived for a home invasion.
Puglise says Sailors was defending his home and maintains his innocence.
"He walked toward the vehicle still trying to ascertain what was goiog on when the vehicle accelerated toward him nearly striking him. That is when the fatal shot was fired," said Puglise.
Diaz's friends who were in his car when the shooting took place paint a very different picture. Gandy Jiminez, age 18, said they pulled into Sailor's driveway accidentally. They were going to pick up a female friend to go ice skating and their GPS steered them to Sailor's home. "A man peered out of his door and we thought it was her grandpa," Jimenez told 11 Alive News.
Jimenez said Rodrigo got scared and started backing out of the driveway after Sailors fired one shot into the air. "Rodrigo never said anything and Mr. Sailors, he just came out and shot him, never said anything, never warned us, never asked why we were there," he said.
The victim's brother said he has serious questions about Sailors' actions.
"Why wouldn't you just call 911 and lock yourself inside your home if you are genuinely worried for your safety," said David Diaz. "You don't pull out a gun and start shooting then ask questions after. My brother was just trying to turn the car around."
The Lilburn Police Department released a statement about the incident: "This was an unfortunate and tragic event and our department is in the process of investigating the incident. At this point we have established probable cause to charge Mr. Sailors and when the investigation is complete we will turn over the case file to the Gwinnett County District Attorneys Office for processing."