Cook killed in restaurant shooting identified

- Clayton County Police are searching for a cold-blooded killer who entered the Ranchero Mexican restaurant on Tara Boulevard in Hampton and shot the cook at point-blank range Thursday afternoon.

Officer said they found 31-year-old Nicolos Aquinaga was seriously wounded, face-down in the kitchen. He was rushed to Southern Regional Hospital where he later died.

Police said the killer, who had his face covered, entered the restaurant around 5:30 p.m. through the back door which had been propped open to keep the kitchen cool.

"The suspect came in and shot the victim and then left. Nothing was taken. Nothing else was said. Nothing else was said. Nothing else was done," said Major Tina Daniel, with Clayton County Police Department.

Maj. Daniel said the restaurant was full of customers at the time in the front of the restaurant who did not see what happened. Daniel said it appeared the cook may have been targeted.

"No, robbery it does not appear to have been random," said Major Daniel.

Police describe the suspect as either a light-skinned black man or Hispanic man who stood about 5’4” tall.

They aren't sure if he got away on foot or in a vehicle and are searching area surveillance video for clues.

Donald Christopher, a regular customer, said he heard of the murder while shopping nearby.

"They were telling us someone had been shot inside and then lager the clerk told me the person had died," said Christopher.

Major Daniel said she is a regular customer too.

"Officers come here, families, it's a very family oriented restaurant," said Major Daniel.

It's a popular restaurant where staff and customers now with a big loss and lots of unanswered questions.

"My heart goes out to the family, the loss of any loved one. You just ask that God put his hand on them and be with them," said Christopher.

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