ATLANTA – A Montgomery County native is dead after being killed in an apparent murder-suicide in Cobb County, Ga. 23-year-old Zakeem Berry, a 2009 Watkins Mill graduate, was shot and killed while working as a security guard at the Town Center at Cobb.
Berry is remembered by his classmates as having a “big heart.” Berry was nicknamed “Teddy Bear” by his friends and family. He worked at the Germantown Indoor and Outdoor Pool from the age of 15, first as a lifeguard and later as a pool operator. From 2006-2009, Berry was also a center and defensive tackle on the Watkins Mill football team. Berry moved to Georgia in 2013.
“Zakeem was a great lab partner and always had such a big heart. He didn’t deserve what happened to him,” said fellow Watkins Mill graduate Melanie Blakenship.
Berry’s body was found near a Red Lobster at one of the entrances of the mall. Berry later died at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga.
Police say the man responsible for Berry’s death, Richard Holcomb, 23, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police are investigating the nature of Berry and Holcomb’s relationship.
Town Center at Cobb management said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event, and our sincere condolences go out to the family of the security officer involved in this incident. Mall management is working closely with the Cobb County Police to share any details that may assist in the investigation of this senseless crime that is extremely shocking to all of us.”
Berry’s funeral will be held on April 26 at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg.