With the dismissal yesterday of suspect Teddy Morris of Norfolk, Va., police say they are left with few solid leads in the shooting of Larry Flynt, the Hustler publisher who was seriously wounded here Monday.
Morris was arrested in Norfolk Tuesday night after Gwinette County police received a telephone call indicating he was a possible suspect.
Police flew to Norfolk to question Morris, who was being held in the city jail there after he refused to sign extradition papers to Georgia. But by noon Wednesday the lead had fallen through.
"We received information from a source in Virginia that Teddy Morris was a possible suspect but we have confirmed that he was the source of that call and that it was a hoax," said Deputy Chief Larry Puckett.
A $5,000 reward for information about the Flynt shooting has been offered by Lawrenceville police. According to the Associated Press, police officers here and in Norfolk said Morris apparently hoped to receive a reward for the information he intended to provide.
"After questioning Morris, we have definitely placed him in Norfolk at the time of the shooting Monday," Puckett said.
It was not the first unfruitful lead police here have uncovered.
"We are questioning people (around the shooting site) repeatedly but we can't find any eyewitnesses who actually saw the assailant," Puckett said.
Flynt was shot in the abdomen while returning from lunch to the Gwynette County Courthouse where he was on trial for distributing obscene material. His local attorney, Gene Reeves, also was shot in the abdomen.
Immediately after the shooting, rumors began of a late-model silver Camaro that was reportedly seen speeding away from the site. Police put out a bulletin for the car, but by late Monday it was found to have no connection to the case.
Tuesday afternoon police released composite drawings of "witnesses" - a young white male and female who were seen near the site before the shooting.
Police picked up two people fitting the descriptions Tuesday night but again were unsuccessful.
"We talked with people we thought were the two, but it was not them," Puckett said.
Police also cordoned off an abandoned hotel directly across from the shooting site. The shots "came from that direction," according to Police Chief John Crunkleton. "We have not conclusively tied any evidence to that building," Puckett said.
Police would not comment on reports that the weapon used in the shooting was a .44 caliber rifle, or that a .44-caliber sheel was found in the abandoned building.
"It would be incorrect to say we are just waiting around now," Puckett said. "We have a lot of information that we're following up on but we just don't have anything solid to release now.
"To boil it all down to an oversimplification, we're continuing as if this thing with Morris never happened," Puckett said.