Police arrest alleged killer of Barney Simms

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Just hours after Atlanta police publicly identified the suspected killer of gay civic leader Barney Simms, the agency's fugitive squad arrested him about two miles from the scene of the killing.

Eric Banks, 17, will now face murder charges in the killing of Simms. Police allege that Banks shot Simms on Saturday afternoon in the front yard of his Connally Drive home less than an hour after the two ate at a nearby Waffle House. 

Simms, 70, was a former executive with the Atlanta Housing Authority and served on several city-related boards and commissions as well as neighborhood and civic groups.

On Thursday, Atlanta police publicly identified Banks and said they were charging him with killing Simms. Hours later, police said officers found Banks and arrested him on Plaza Lane, about two miles from Simms' home in southwest Atlanta. 

On Monday, homicide investigators asked for the public's help in identifying the man seen with Simms at a Waffle House on Virginia Avenue. That person turned out to be Banks.

“We would like to thank the Atlanta community for their tips in making the arrest of Mr. Banks,” Atlanta police spokesperson Kim Jones said. “We could not have done this without your help.”

Atlanta police did not offer other details about the capture of Banks, whether they suspect him of also stealing Simms' Lexus, which was recovered in nearby East Point on Sunday, or what relationship – if any – existed between the two men before the killing.

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