Police commission rules officer broke policy in fatal department store shooting
A police commission rules officer who fatally shot two people during a robbery attempt on Sept. 5 has been disciplined.
It is the first time anyone has been disciplined for shooting someone in the line of duty.
The shooting happened at the J.C. Penney department store on a Georgia Highway Patrol chase.
On Sept. 5, a Georgia Highway Patrol trooper was chasing a car that matched a car he had been given to follow.
As the chase continued, the car lost control and crashed into the store.
The chase ended when the trooper pulled into the parking lot of the store and spotted the car with a man and a woman inside. Both were armed with rifles.
The officer tried to stop the car, but it sped off toward a house where the driver told the trooper they had a gun.
That car crashed into a home and the driver shot the two inside the house.
“When the door swung open, three shots rang out,” said a police chief in DeKalb County. “And I was stunned. There were three bodies.”
One of the women was holding a rifle as she ran across the ground and into the driver’s seat. She was shot in the back and in the neck.
But the officer, who was inside the store and couldn’t see who was on the ground, didn’t think to check for a second person before firing.
The man who was shot ran into the store and hid behind a display case. He came out only minutes later holding his own rifle.
“I never saw a body – that’s all I know,” said the head of the DeKalb County police union.
“We’ve been talking about a number of things to do with the department,” said Capt. George Tague. “What will make us successful is that we have to get better.”
The officer was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter and two counts