Woman found dead at gas station may have been targeted over loan

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Officers in Gwinnett County and DeKalb County are working together to learn more about a shooting that left a woman dead Tuesday morning.

The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Avery Birthrong, of Lilburn.

According to police, the shooting happened in Gwinnett County early Tuesday morning, but Birthrong's body was discovered in DeKalb County. She was found behind the BP gas station on Hugh Howell Road near Lilburn Stone Mountain Road in DeKalb County.

"Why do this? This is crazy. This is crazy over $70," said Lashun Parks.

Parks’ son was Birthrong’s boyfriend. The family believes they know the motive behind the deadly shooting.

Parks' son drove to this DeKalb County gas station on Hugh Howell Road to get help for his dying girlfriend after she was shot just a few miles down the road in the area of Five Forks Trickum Road and Rockbridge Road in Gwinnett County just after 4 a.m. Tuesday.

"He just called me at 528 this morning and said 'Mom she's gone, she's gone. They killed her mom, they killed her,’" Parks said.

Investigators said two men, Birthrong's boyfriend and another man, were in the car with Birthrong when someone opened fire on the car, killing her. The man driving the car drove away from the scene after the shooting and stopped at the BP gas station. That's when the police were called.

Police said both men who were in the vehicle are being called "witnesses who are cooperating." One of the witnesses was visibly distraught at the scene.

According to Parks, her son claimed the shooter killed the 25-year-old because she owed them $70 dollars.

"What they are trying to do is get answers to the questions we have. What led to this? What brought this about? And piece that together," said Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, Gwinnett County Police Department.

Early in the investigation, police wouldn't speculate on a possible motive but those who knew the victim believe Birthrong was killed over an unpaid debt.

"They got into some trouble couple of weeks ago and she borrowed some money from someone and they retaliated against her today," said Parks.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gwinnett County Police at 770-513-5300. Or you can call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477. A reward of up to $2,000 is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest.