Jeremy Sean Buchanan, 19, was killed after he drove to Rolling Ridge Apartments off Kathwood Drive, police said.
“We do have a reason for him being there, but we’re not ready to release that,” Athens-Clarke police Lt. David Leedahl said Monday.
“This is a very active investigation, and we don’t want to spook the shooter by showing all our cards,” he said.
Police late Monday afternoon canvassed Rolling Ridge and found a man in an apartment who tussled with an officer, then fled across Kathwood Drive and into the Towne Square subdivision.
Officers converged on the neighborhood about 4:45 p.m., after a woman on Fitz Mar Lane reported she saw someone matching the fleeing man’s description holding a gun, according to police.
They sealed off entrances to the neighborhoods, and officers searched the area with a K-9 unit; shortly after 5:30 p.m., they arrested a man and placed him in a patrol car.
Leedahl, who was at the hospital checking on an officer injured in the confrontation early Monday evening, didn’t know if the man in custody was the murder suspect.
“I don’t know yet what we got this guy in custody for,” Leedahl said. “All I know right now is he just ran” from Rolling Ridge.
Witnesses in the Buchanan murder investigation saw the victim walk from his car toward the breezeway of a building at Rolling Ridge with at least one other man about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, when a single gunshot rang out, police said.
Someone called 911, and when officers arrived, they found the 19-year-old on the ground with a single gunshot wound to the head, police said; he was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, where doctors determined he was brain dead.
Buchanan died at 6:40 a.m., after he was removed from life support, according to police.
From the beginning, detectives approached the investigation as a homicide — even before Buchanan died.
“We’ve had people working on this all night long, and we sent one group home this morning so they could rest up and hit the ground running in teams when they return today,” Leedahl said.
Investigators have located witnesses, but none who actually saw the shooting, according to Leedahl.
“We’ve canvassed the neighborhood, talking to people door to door, but this is going to take a lot more legwork before we’re done,” he said.
Buchanan, who would have turned 20 next month, was in the process of getting discharged from the U.S. Army, according to police, who didn’t know why he was leaving the military.
Buchanan’s Facebook page said he was from Jefferson and attended Jefferson High School.
It also shows a video of his swearing-in as a soldier in March 2009, and photographs after he completed basic training in July of that year.
Buchanan was married and had an infant daughter, but police said the couple hadn’t lived together recently, and that his wife was in Maine when Buchanan was shot.
They were together as recently as May, at the U.S. Army’s Fort Polk in Louisiana, according a Facebook page Buchanan’s wife set up for their daughter, Ember, who was born prematurely in May with severe medical conditions.
Stephanie Buchanan posted a hopeful message on her husband’s Facebook page less than three hours before doctors removed him from life support.
“Please don’t leave me,” she wrote. “Ember and I love you so much!”
Buchanan was the sixth person to be murdered in Athens-Clarke this year.