Man killed by SWAT officer identified as Austell resident

Cobb Sheriff's Department vehicle at Cobb government office in article Man killed by SWAT identifiedCobb Sheriff's Department vehicle at Cobb government office (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

The man killed by a SWAT team deputy during an attempt to execute a search warrant last Thursday has been identified as Johnny Bolton, 49, of Austell.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigation the incident.

Below is the original press release issued by the GBI after the request was made for the investigation:

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Cobb County

Smyrna, GA (December 17, 2020) – On Thursday, December 17, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an officer involved shooting.

Preliminary information indicates that on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at approximately 4:41 a.m., Marietta Cobb Smyrna (MCS) Organized Crime Task Force agents and Cobb County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team deputies, executed a narcotics search warrant at 505 Springbrook Trail SE, Smyrna, GA. During entry into the residence, a SWAT team member discharged his firearm and an occupant of the apartment was struck. The subject was transported to Wellstar Cobb Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The identification of the subject is pending next of kin notification.

No officers were injured during the incident.

An autopsy will be performed by the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The GBI will continue its independent investigation of the officer involved shooting. Upon completion, it will be submitted to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office for review.

This is the 92nd officer involved shooting the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2020.

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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