Two men were shot and wounded in Buckhead Dec. 8 when they tried to stop a pair of car thieves caught in the act, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

The noontime shooting combines two crime trends that are frustrating APD: gun violence around the neighborhood, and car thefts made easy by vehicles left unlocked or running. Such concerns are part of the motive for a new “Buckhead Security Plan” developed by officials and private organizations.

The incident happened around 12:10 p.m. at Peachtree Cleaners & Laundry at 1891 Peachtree Road in Brookwood Hills.

APD said that the incident began when a man left his Volvo SUV running when he went into the cleaners. A male suspects entered his vehicle and attempted to drive it away. The owner began a “tussle” with the suspect.

Two other men then attempted to help the owner.  A second suspect pulled up in a Volkswagen Jetta and opened fire, wounded the two men. Both victims were wounded in their shoulders.

The suspects fled in the Volkswagen, which was later recovered by APD on Collier Road. APD said the vehicle had been reported stolen in Smyrna.

The victims were taken to a hospital “alert, conscious and breathing” and in stable condition, according to APD.

Among a wave of gun violence in Buckhead this year, the latest incident is at least the third case of a car theft that led to gunfire. In March, an alleged carjacker was severely wounded by a witness in a shootout at a Roswell Road gas station, and in August a man said would-be carjackers shot at him at a Pharr Road gas station when he brandished a firearm at them.

Update: This story has been updated with further information from APD, including a clarification about the second suspect using a different vehicle.

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.