PEACTREE CORNERS, Ga. - Police and eyewitnesses said he was shot for trying to do the right thing.
It happened Saturday morning around one in the parking lot of Tavern at Medlock in Peachtree Corners. Police said Thomas Rushworth was shot once in the head while trying to intervene in between two couples having a heated dispute in the parking lot. Investigators said the 45-year-old man stepped in after seeing one of the men allegedly assaulting the woman with him.
“When he interjected himself into the dispute, one of the males involved in the fight pulled out a gun and shot him,” said Corporal Deon Washington with the Gwinnett Police Department.
“He stopped an incident perhaps from being worse for a woman and a gentleman took exception to that. For him being a good guy and attacked him,” said Bridgett Zatezalo, who found Rushworth.
Washington said the couples scattered after Rushworth was shot. The corporal said it is believed the shooter fled into this nearby apartment complex.
Zatezalo and her sister didn't see the people fleeing when they ran out of the bar and started helping Rushworth.
“I started CPR when I couldn't right away tell if he was breathing and just kept going. My sister came out and asked what she could do and I asked her to take over rescue breaths,” said Zatezalo.
“My hand is slipping off of his forehead because there is so much blood, he'd been shot in the head and I could see the gunshot wound,” said Melanie Welsh.
The well-meaning siblings said they performed CPR until rescue crews arrived and transported Rushworth to Gwinnett Medical Center. Inside the bar, several people described Rushworth as the greatest guy around who goes out of his way to help people, which in this case left him a victim of a terrible violence.
“I think the world needs more people who are willing to step up to say this is not right this is not OK. I’m glad I could help somebody who brings that to the world,” said Zatezalo.
Rushworth's sister Julie Walker spoke to reporters at Gwinnett Medical Center Wednesday.
“ There was four people involved in the situation. They have friends and people know what happened so we would appreciate it if anyone would come forward and help us get to the bottom of it."
Gwinnett Medical Center's Dr. Niala Avery is one of the trauma surgeons caring for Rushworth who is now listed in fair condition.
“We've been pleased overall with his progress. We are still actively treating his injury. He is still in a coma we are providing sedation to keep him that way at this point but we are hopeful as far as his recovery.”
Gwinnett County Police said this is a Crime Stoppers case with a potential $2,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person who shot Rushworth.
An online account has been set up to help with medical expenses. Anyone who wishes to donate can go to gofundme.com/tomrushworth.