Police ask for public's help after esteemed paralegal killed in drive-by shooting

A veteran Atlanta paralegal was killed in a drive-by shooting in Decatur Wednesday night, police say.

WSBTV's Tom Regan was live at the scene on Shannon Ridge Court where police say they believe two cars drove in to the cul-de-sac around 8 p.m. and opened fire.

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Joanna Steed, 43, was inside a friend's house playing music with her band in a downstairs room when a bullet pierced the window and struck her in the head. Emergency crews rushed her to Grady Memorial Hospital where she died.

Bullets pierced another car, the house and shattered a basement window. By the time neighbors ran outside, the cars had sped away.

Police say they are unclear on the motive and following numerous leads.

Regan spoke to another member of the band who said a bullet flew past his head as he played drums. The people who live in the house, who did not want to go on camera, told Regan they are so scared they are moving out to stay with friends until the suspects are caught.

A neighbor who heard the gunshots, Larry Lopez, said it sounded like the suspects had at least two different guns. He said he immediately wondered if it had to do with a strange man he'd seen staring at the house the day before.

"It looked like he was looking for somebody," Lopez said. "He had an angry look on his face, like he was waiting for someone to show up."

Regan also spoke with Steed's boss, John Bates, who said she was a dedicated employee and friend.

"Anyone who ever met her is missing her," Bates said. "It feels she was taken away from us in a senseless act of violence."

Steed's friends have placed flyers on mailboxes asking for help to catch the shooters. In the meantime, her friends and co-workers are struggling to process the loss of a woman they say was highly regarded for her work.

"She always greeted you with a smile and was just a consummate professional. We miss and we feel like she's just been taken away from us," Bates said. "And our heart certainly goes out to her family."

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