Originally created 06/27/99

Two men charged in restaurant attack



Police have arrested two men in connection with a Friday night shooting in a restaurant parking lot that left one gunman and an innocent bystander wounded.

Khasene Barron, 23, who was wounded in the shooting, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime Saturday. He is accused of firing several rounds Friday in the parking lot of a Burger King restaurant at 3431 Wrightsboro Road.

Police arrested Artis Rozier, 19, inside the Comedy House Theatre on Washington Road about 9:30 p.m. Saturday after being tipped he would be there and charged him with the same crimes, said Investigator Mark Bowen of the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

In what police said appeared to be an attempt to settle an old dispute, Mr. Barron -- armed with a 9 mm pistol -- and two other men ran toward a white Cadillac driven by Mr. Rozier.

As the car sped away from the scene, Mr. Barron, who was approaching the passenger side, began firing rounds at the vehicle, police said.

Mr. Rozier returned gunfire with an unknown semiautomatic weapon, according to police.

A restaurant customer, John Ballinger, who police said was not involved in the dispute, was shot in the back.

"Barron was struck in the left side of the stomach with one round," said Investigator Bowen.

Mr. Barron fled the scene, but police found him running along the North Leg and Gordon Highway intersection 20 minutes after the incident, Investigator Bowen said.

Mr. Ballinger and Mr. Barron were treated and released at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital on Friday. Mr. Barron was taken into police custody at the hospital early Saturday, Investigator Bowen said.

Clarissa J. Walker covers south Richmond County for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (706) 828-3851 or cjwalker@augustachronicle.com.