The family of Keenan Leonard, a Georgia man who was fatally gunned down in his driveway with no apparent provocation by a white man three years ago, is teaming up with a local NAACP chapter to file a civil suit against his convicted murderer. Leonard’s loved ones hope the complaint will finally help them obtain answers to why the 29-year-old man’s life was abruptly ended.

In a Thursday (April 4) press conference, Attorney Andrew Lampros said that a civil suit would be the best course of action to get Cameron Downing to detail what took place on New Year’s Day 2021. “The killer is not required to testify at the criminal trial. He’s not required to answer any questions. He’s got the right against self-incrimination. He does not have that right on the civil side,” said Lampros to WRBL-TV. “And so, we can sit him down and place him under oath and ask him questions. And we expect that he probably won’t answer them the first time around, but we are prepared to go to a court and ask the judge to enter an order compelling him to answer those questions,” he added.

Downing, 26, is said to have fired five shots into Leonard’s car, striking him three times. The unsuspecting man was on the phone with his girlfriend, who was inside their residence, when he was killed. She told authorities that she heard the shots through the phone and from inside their shared home. She found his lifeless body in his car. Downing claimed that he was attempting to get directions from the victim when an argument broke out. He alleged that he feared for his life when the fatal shots were fired. Investigators determined that Leonard was not armed, and his girlfriend said she never heard him speak to anyone other than her before he was killed.

He was convicted of malice murder in November 2023. The following month, on Dec. 11, 2023, 11 Alive reported that Troup County District Attorney John H. Cranford Jr. sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. "For taking Keenen Leonard from his family and loved ones without any apparent reason, it is just that Downing never be released from prison," he said.

Inetha Hatten, president of the Troup County NAACP, said, “This was an innocent man… a lot of times we don’t get the justice that we deserve. If we talk about it, we are noted as people who are prejudiced, racist, or harsh but I want justice for all people. And if it comes across our desk, we’re going to handle it,” when asked about the organization joining the family’s continued fight for justice.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed within the next 30 days.