Originally created 08/19/00

Two face murder charges after drive-by



Two North Augusta men have been charged with murder in a drive-by shooting on Broad Street this week that apparently began with a name-calling contest.

Alphonzo Lewan Parks, 20, who was shot in the head, died at 10:28 a.m. Friday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, according to the Richmond County Coroner's Office. His death marks Richmond County's 14th homicide of the year.

The county now has seen more homicides so far in 2000 than it did the entire year of 1999. But that doesn't necessarily mean crime is getting worse.

"Homicides are very difficult to apply to criminal activity," Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said, adding that figures for stranger-on-stranger crimes such as burglaries and robberies are better indicators. "Murder is unique when it comes to law enforcement, because it's very difficult to prevent."

Marco Appling, 21, of Metz Drive, and Antonio Flowers, 21, of Weston Street, face additional charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The two were pulled over for speeding near the Augusta Canal bridge moments after Mr. Parks and James Overton, 21, were shot on the 1900 block of Broad Street at Grace Street, police said.

No gun was found in the car, but a 9mm Ruger handgun was found lying near the bridge, Sgt. Wayne Pinkston said.

Investigators say they believe the conflict may have begun with an argument in the Harrisburg area between the two victims and two women at about midnight Wednesday. Later, the two suspects drove by in a red Dodge Neon and shots were fired, Sgt. Pinkston said.

Mr. Parks was shot through the left ear, police said. Mr. Overton was shot in the hand and leg and was released from the hospital Thursday.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.