City councilman’s daughter dies in crossfire while driving for Lyft, Georgia cops say


Lauren Allen, 31, was shot and killed after dropping off a Lyft passenger in DeKalb County, Georgia, on Nov. 21, police said.

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A Lyft driver and daughter of a city councilman was shot dead after she was caught in the crossfire of a domestic dispute between a passenger and an armed man, authorities in Georgia said.

Lauren Allen, 31, had just finished a drop-off in Lithonia late Monday, Nov. 21, when gunfire erupted, according to DeKalb County Police. Officers arrived around 8:30 p.m. and found Allen dead in her car from multiple gunshot wounds.

Allen was the daughter of Peachtree Corners Councilman Joe Sawyer, WSB-TV and WXIA reported.

“Our hearts go out to Councilman Sawyer and his family,” a city spokesperson told McClatchy News in a statement. “At this time, we are in contact and have assured them that as a work family and friends, we are here to provide any support they may need.”

Investigators said Allen’s passenger got into a dispute with 23-year-old Lerelle Chatman, who was accused of firing several shots at the car, striking Allen. Chatman fled, but officers found him “armed with a rifle” at a gas station less than a mile away, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“The man began shooting at officers, damaging several patrol vehicles and a civilian’s vehicle,” investigators said. Police shot back, killing Chatman at the scene, according to the GBI.

Sawyer said he is “still in shock” and heartbroken over the loss of his daughter.

“We’re not supposed to bury kids,” he told WXIA. “They’re supposed to bury us.”

The councilman recalled bumping into his daughter at a dollar store earlier that day, adding: “Her last words to me were ‘Thank you, daddy,’ and ‘I love you,’” WAGA reported.

Family and friends mourned Allen, whose “spirit and energy was as bright and vibrant as the Sun,” according to a GoFundMe set up on the family’s behalf. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

McClatchy News reached out to Lyft for comment on Wednesday, Nov. 23, and was awaiting a response.

DeKalb police continue to investigate Allen’s killing while the GBI will look into the police shooting involving Chatman.

Lithonia is about 20 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

Tanasia is a national Real-Time reporter based in Atlanta covering news across Georgia, Mississippi and the Southeast. Her sub-beat is retail and consumer news. She’s an alumna of Kennesaw State University and joined McClatchy in 2020.

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