Atlanta officer arrested for Hapeville murder, attempts to flee - KMSP-TV

Atlanta officer arrested for Hapeville murder, attempts to flee to Mexico

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Tahreem Zeus Rana (courtesy of Fulton County Sheriff's Office) Tahreem Zeus Rana (courtesy of Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators tell FOX 5 Atlanta News that an Atlanta police officer tried to flee to Mexico on Thursday, after he was charged with the murder of a 26-year-old.

Warrants for Tahreem Zeus Rana, 23, were issued earlier this week. He is charged with kidnapping, arson in the 1st degree, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony and the murder of Veronica Woodard.

CBP officers, Atlanta Police and HSI identified Rana in the boarding area and took him into custody. Rana did not resist arrest. CBP and Atlanta Police took Rana to the Hapeville Police Department. Police say Rana bought a ticket to Monterey, Mexico at 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning.

The Atlanta Police Department released the following statement:

"We are shocked and saddened by these developments. The officer has been relieved from duty, and is in a non-enforcement status. Chief Turner will schedule an emergency hearing immediately today to determine the next course of action. We must allow the justice system to run its course. These clearly are very disturbing allegations that are not in line with the expectations we have for our officers, and will be immediately dealt with."

Woodard's body of was located by a city employee. Hapeville police arrived on scene and noticed her body was on fire. Police say it all started when Woodard and Rana were to have their first romantic encounter on Friday. Police say Rana shot the mother several times, then police say he lit her body on fire to cover up the crime. Police believe he had only known the victim for a matter of days.

"He had met a young lady over the internet and met her in the Tucker area," said Detective Stephen Cushing with Hapeville Police. "For whatever reason brought her [here] to Hapeville and murdered her."

The Hapeville Police Department requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in order to process the crime scene.

Rana is being held without bond at the Fulton County Jail. According to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, Rana waived his first appearance before a judge. We also learned the officer will likely hire a private attorney.

The investigation is on-going. Stay with FOX 5 News for updates.

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