Suspected car thief killed by cop ID’d

Suspected car thief killed by cop ID’d

An alleged car thief fatally shot by a police officer earlier this week behind an Inman Park apartment complex was identified Friday as James Sweatman Jr.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office released the suspect’s name to Channel 2 Action News.

The man was armed with a handgun and a screwdriver when he was confronted by the officer, Atlanta police have said.

Police were notified around 10:50 p.m. Wednesday of a 911 call reporting a burglary in progress in a parking lot off North Highland Avenue, near Washita Avenue, said Lt. Paul Guerrucci, commander of APD’s homicide unit.

When an officer confronted the suspect, “a physical altercation ensued and shots were fired,” Guerrucci said. The unidentified suspect, a man believed to be in his early to mid-30s, died at the scene.

Guerrucci offered few details on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. Detectives remained in the neighborhood well into the morning.

Eric Brown, who lives in the apartments where the shooting occurred, said he heard “at least three shots.”

“There was some yelling, then some pops, like a cap gun,” said Brown, 33.

The officer, who was not immediately identified, was placed on paid administrative leave pending a review, per APD policy, Guerrucci said.

Wednesday’s shooting was the latest in a series of crimes in the popular North Highland corridor.

In late July, two women were robbed at gunpoint as they left Barcelona restaurant. After a brief tussle, the suspect fired a shot that barely missed hitting one of the victims in the head.

A few weeks earlier, patrons and staff at the North Highland Pub — less than a block away from the scene of Wednesday’s shooting — were robbed at gunpoint. Those incidents led to an increased police presence in the neighborhood.

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently that criminals “know where the hot spots are,” comparing the Inman Park hold-ups to a spate of robberies that occurred the previous summer in Virginia-Highland.

Brown, who has lived in Inman Park for the last year, said the recent crimes come as a surprise.

“This is such a cool neighborhood, and when I moved in it was really safe,” he said. “I hope that hasn’t changed.’

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