ATLANTA – Video released Thursday captures the apparent robbery of former boxing champion Vernon Forrest, who was shot and killed a short time later, and Atlanta police hope the footage leads them to as many as four suspects.
Lt. Keith Meadows said police believe at least three and possibly four people were involved in Saturday night’s robbery and homicide. Videos from cameras positioned at three locations have helped police conclude that one person robbed Forrest of his four-time championship ring and Rolex watch and a different person killed him, Meadows said.
The video shows a clear image of the suspected armed robber, but not the man who shot Forrest multiple times in his back less than three minutes later, Meadows said. The video was taken outside the gas station where Forrest was robbed, outside an apartment complex across the street and outside a nearby breezeway, Meadows said.
Details of the scene described by Meadows are difficult to see clearly on the video clips, which include a blurry image of an apparent encounter in the gas station parking lot, followed by at least two men running away from the car. Another video clip more clearly shows the person police believe robbed Forrest.
The video from the gas station shows the suspect’s car parked at a gas pump and move behind Forrest’s vehicle, which is at an air pump.
The man approaches Forrest from behind with a handgun and robs him, Meadows said. Forrest pulled a gun from his waistband and began chasing the robber across a bridge, Meadows said.
Shortly after they get across, security footage picks up the robber, but Forrest loses sight of him, Meadows said. The video shows the robber still carrying a handgun as he walks through a breezeway.
“Forrest comes around the corner and he encounters another individual who we believe has a gun in his hand,” Meadows said, adding that Forrest and the second person “exchange words” before Forrest “realizes that this is not the individual who actually robbed him.
“So he turns to walk away and it was at that point the subject shot Mr. Forrest a number of times in the back,” Meadows said.
Meadows said he did not have video of the shooting and described what happened based on evidence and eyewitnesses. Investigators have said they believe between 20 and 24 shots were fired from two guns.
Meadows said the robber and the shooter left in a red Pontiac driven by a third suspect.
Meadows said police hope to produce a sketch of the robbery suspect from the videos, which “are going to be extremely important to us” to try to ID the people.
Forrest, a native of Augusta, Ga., who lived in Atlanta, was a member of the 1992 Olympic team along with Oscar De La Hoya. The popular fighter later won welterweight and junior middleweight titles and compiled a professional record of 41-3 with 29 knockouts.
He gained notoriety when he became the first boxer to defeat Shane Mosley. His funeral is set for Monday in Lithonia, near Atlanta.