According to a public information release from Sgt. Wayne Delk of the Cobb County Police Department, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation of a fatal shooting in Marietta by a Cobb police officer.
It is a routine practice for Cobb police to request the GBI to conduct an investigation of police use of deadly force.
Sgt. Delk described the incident as follows:
Earlier this afternoon a CCPD officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was reported stolen. The information is all still preliminary but at this time we can confirm the suspect vehicle fled the scene, striking multiple vehicles (we believe some law enforcement and some civilian). CCSO had deputies in the area and assisted in stopping the vehicle near Sandtown Rd and Powder Springs. At some point after the vehicle was stopped a CCPD officer fired his handgun striking the suspect. We can confirm the suspect died from his wounds. The GBI has been called and will take over the investigation.
Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox released the following statement, also contained in the public information release:
“I am very relieved to share with you there were no other injuries in this dangerous situation Cobb County Police Officers and Cobb County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in this afternoon. We’ve received numerous questions and can confirm that a handgun was recovered. As in most incidents of this magnitude many times the information comes in a preliminary fashion and is updated as more details become available. It was initially reported this incident evolved from a stolen vehicle traffic stop. We have now confirmed that this incident began with an officer observing the vehicle driving erratically and posing a threat to motoring and pedestrian traffic in the area. We are thankful no motorists or pedestrians were injured. And we will continue to provide all of our personnel and other needed resources to the GBI in the furtherance of their independent investigation.”
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.