GBI: Athens officers fatally shoot man after standoff over stolen car

The GBI is investigating an officer-involved shooting in Clarke County.
The GBI is investigating an officer-involved shooting in Clarke County.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

The GBI has released the identity of a man who was shot and killed by Athens-Clarke County police Thursday morning.

Timothy Daniel Statham, 37, of Winterville, was signaled by police to pull over after the car he was driving, a 2006 Nissan Titan, was flagged as stolen, according to the initial investigation. When officers tried to initiate a traffic stop about 9:15 a.m., Statham drove off the road and ran into the woods alongside Newton Bridge Road, Athens police spokesman Lt. Shaun Barnett said in a statement.

Officers surrounded Statham and tried to negotiate with him to surrender for “an extended period of time,” Barnett said.

“Statham kept his hands in his pockets and told officers he had more ammunition than they did,” GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said in a statement.

The negotiation ended when Statham walked toward multiple officers with his hands hidden in his shirt and “made references to having a gun,” Barnett said.

Barnett said Officer Jamie Jones had fired a 40mm sponge round in an attempt to stop Statham. A sponge round is a projectile fired from a standard grenade launcher that has a foam-rubber nose and is meant to disable its target.

“The less lethal munitions did not have the desired effect and the individual continued advancing toward officers in a threatening manner, indicating that he had a firearm,” Barnett said.

Three other officers then fired their weapons at Statham as he continued to advance, according to the statement. They were identified as Sgt. Tim Johnson, Officer Dustin Tilley and Officer Jerold Rogers. They were not injured.

Statham was pronounced dead at the scene, Barnett said. It was later verified that he had felony warrants out of Jackson and Barrow counties, the GBI said. His body will be taken to the GBI Crime Lab for autopsy.

This is the ninth officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year, and the first that was fatal.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don’t involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI’s tally.

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