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Shooting victim Phelps dies

ALBANY, Ga. -- After suffering a gunshot wound to the shoulder during a July 3 robbery, Walter Phelps, 67, died Saturday afternoon, officials said.

"He died on the way to the hospital in the ambulance," said Ronald Rowe, Lee County Coroner. "The body is being taken to the (GBI) lab in Macon for autopsy. Although he lived in Lee County it is a Dougherty County case."

Phelps was shot and robbed at about 8 a.m. at his P&P Garden and Hardware store at 2500 N. Slappey Boulevard.

Emma Quimbley, Dougherty County coroner, could not be reached immediately for comment Saturday. Following procedure the cause of death would be released after an autopsy.

The five men in Dougherty County jail accused of the July 3 robbery and aggravated assault could face murder charges.

"If the autopsy determines the cause of death is related to the gunshot wound suffered in the robbery, we could pursue felony murder charges," said Heather Lanier, chief assistant district attorney. "At least we could pursue murder charges on the shooter. If it is not related we can proceed with the aggravated assault and robbery charges."

Phelps' son Marc declined to discuss his father's death or the shooting and robbery when called by phone Saturday.

The Albany Police Department arrested and jailed the following for their part in the shooting and robbery:

Jordan Harris, 20, is charged with possession of a gun at the scene of a crime, armed robbery and aggravated assault. Because he is the only one charged with gun possession it follows that he is the shooter and could face murder charges, officials said.

Four others stand accused of armed robbery and aggravated assault. None of the five has had bail set. They remain in custody, a jail spokeswoman said.

Ryan Richardson, 17, Roderick Ferrell, 22, Ezekile James, 19 and Jamon Carter, 20.

According to police reports those men stole Phelps' credit card and used it three hours after the shooting at a Ralph Lauren Polo outlet store in Lake Park.

They appeared in a video surveliance tape made at the store. Harris was the one paying for $2,200 worth of Polo apparel with Phelps' card.

The police aired the video and sought community help in finding the men. The community showed a great response in locating the accused.