Chaperone charged in shooting death of special needs teen

- Police have charged a caretaker-chaperone who was taking a group of special needs young men on a camping trip with multiple charges after the death of a teenager.

It’s the result of a stop at a store in Roswell for supplies which had tragic consequences.

Roswell Police received the 911 call to the parking lot of Mountain Motorsports on Upper Hembree Road involving a shooting from an SUV around a quarter to one in the afternoon.

“I heard two gunshots. There was another woman that saw a man, he came past her in his car and said help I’ve been shot,” said Rhiannon Lyndsay, who works nearby.

Police told FOX 5 News a 63-year-old man who was a customer at the store was hit by stray gunfire in the parking lot. He drove himself to the hospital with a minor injury.

The shots police said were fired by a special needs 21-year-old in the SUV.

One bullet struck and killed a a special needs teen boy inside the SUV.

Investigators said the driver and chaperone was 35-year-old Gerard Brister of Brookhaven. He was taking the group on a camping trip sponsored by a Tucker nonprofit My Buddy and Me.

Brister left the SUV to go into Mountain Motor Sports to buy supplies for the camping trip, police said. The shooting occured while he was in the store.

Brister has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. Brister is scheduled to make his first court appearance at the Fulton County Jail Thursday morning.

“Since there are so many other people in the car and the other individual who got shot in the hand that’s where the other reckless conduct charges may stem from it they come,” said Sgt. Zachary Frommer with the Roswell Police Department.

Roswell police said the pistol belonged to Brister and was found under the seat. The young man who pulled the trigger is 21-years-old with the mental capacity of a 5-year-old child, police said.

“That’s why we are not going to entertain any kind of charges on that subject. He has most likely no clue what he did,” Frommer said.

The 17-year-old who was shot and killed has been identified as Zachary Chambless of Dunwoody.  

Brister was transported to the Fulton County Jail Wednesday.

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