Suspect identified in shooting

By Ryan Carter -

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for a 27-year-old Columbus man who was allegedly involved in the Nov. 28 shooting of a Butler County man in the Center Christian Church parking lot.

Charges of felonious assault and aggravated robbery have been filed against Brandon J. Taylor, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.

As detectives from the sheriff’s office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation & Identification (BCI&I) continue their investigation, authorities believe the motive in the shooting of Lee E. Watkins, 25, centers around a robbery or robbery attempt.

Taylor is described as a six foot, one inch black male who weighs approximately 230 pounds, according to Stanforth. He was described as having black hair and brown eyes, and is believed to be in the Columbus area.

On the evening of the shooting in the church parking lot, located on Garringer-Edgefield Road in northwest Fayette County, a witness in the area reported observing two vehicles in the lot and at least two individuals outside the vehicles involved in a physical altercation.

A short time later, the caller reported hearing what was believed to be a gunshot. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jordan Lovely found an incoherent man, later identified as Watkins, inside of a vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound. The other vehicle departed the scene by the time deputies arrived, according to Stanforth.

Lovely requested response from EMS and a medical helicopter while administering first aid to Watkins, who was shortly thereafter flown to the trauma center for treatment.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Taylor is encouraged to contact the FCSO at 740-335-6170 or Det. Sgt. Jon Fausnaugh at 740-333-3504, ext. 7. Anonymous tips may also be reported by visiting the website at and clicking the“Report a Tip” link.

By Ryan Carter

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica