COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – After a record-setting, 70 homicides last year Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan tells News 3 it was a quiet first two weeks of January. On Jan. 16, that changed as 71-year-old Barbara Luke was fatally shot driving her vehicle.

Around 2 p.m. the Columbus Police Department arrived at Delray Drive after gunshots and a car crash was reported. Luke was driving her car when she suffered gunshot wounds. Neighbors say the crash came after shots were fired. Muscogee County Coroner, Buddy Bryan confirmed the death at 2:45 this afternoon. 

A neighbor who would like to remain anonymous, tells News 3 she was there with Luke before she died.

“We ran in the house and got blankets cause she was out on the ground we were talking to her, the neighbors were checking to see if she had a pulse, and she did at the time. We waited for the police and the EMTs to arrive… We’ve been here for over 12 years and we’ve never had this problem until about a month ago, it’s just been random shootings up and down the street.” 

Anonymous Neighbor

Bryan tells News 3, this homicide is different than most.

“I want everybody to really pray for this family, it’s a horrible situation for them to have to be in. It’s not a typical homicide like we’ve had in the past year, I wouldn’t think anybody would have anything against a 71-year-old female.”

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan

The Columbus Homicide Unit is continuing the ongoing investigation. Bryan tells News 3 that last year was a horrific year and hopes this year is different.

The Columbus Police Department is encouraging anyone with any information concerning this case to contact Detective Sherman Hayes at (706) 225-4268. If you would like to remain anonymous call 706-653-3188.