GBI investigates Smyrna officer shooting at reportedly stolen U-Haul

Smyrna police headquarters in article about methamphetamine bustSmyrna Police headquarters (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

The Smyrna Police Department requested that the Georgia Bureau investigate an incident on Jonquil Road at Spring Road in which a Smyrna officer shot at at the occupants of an allegedly stolen U-Haul truck.

[It is the policy of the Cobb County Courier to redact names of people who have been charged or might be charged with crimes or violations until either a guilty verdict is handed down or a guilty plea is entered]

The public information release from the GBI states:

Smyrna, GA (August 25, 2020) – On Monday, August 24, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Smyrna Police Department (SPD) to investigate an officer involved shooting.

Preliminary information indicates that on Monday, August 24, 2020, at approximately 4:06 p.m., SPD officers conducted a traffic stop on a U-Haul pick-up truck that was reported as stolen on Jonquil Road at the intersection of Spring Road in Smyrna. Officers exited their vehicles and approached the U-Haul. The U-Haul accelerated in reverse, striking the officers’ patrol car. An officer discharged his firearm at the truck and the truck sped away. 

SPD pursued the truck to the area of Roswell Street and Williams Park, where the truck crashed. The male driver and female passenger exited the truck and fled on foot. SPD officers were able to apprehend and arrest the passenger, identified as [Name redacted]. [Name redacted] was not injured by gunfire and there was no indication at this time that the driver was injured by gunfire. The location of the male driver is unknown.  

No officers were injured during the incident.

The GBI will continue its independent investigation. Once completed, it will be turned over to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office for review. 

The GBI’s role in officer-involved shootings

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation routinely investigates the shooting of individuals by police officers, as well as any time an officer discharges a firearm while on duty, at the request of the police agency involved in the shooting.

Natalie Ammons, the Deputy Director of the GBI’s Office of Public Affairs explained to us how the system works.

Police agencies are not required to request outside investigation of officer involved shootings, and there is no formal agreement between the GBI and local police departments.

But police agencies make the request so that an independent agency does the investigation in an incident involving their own officers.

The investigations are carried out by Special Agents in a regional office within the area where the police agency is located. Cobb County, and much of the rest of metro Atlanta, is in the GBI’s Region 10, based in Conyers.

In Region 10, officer involved shootings and corruption investigations are the primary investigations Special Agents do, while in more rural areas with fewer police resources the agents handle a wider range of criminal investigations.

There is no special unit or division that conducts the investigation of officer involved shootings.

The announcements of the investigations can be found at the GBI’s press release web page.

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