A Carroll County deputy was justified when he fatally shot a man who was threatening a gas station clerk with a shovel, according to a local district attorney.
In a statement Thursday, Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford said he will not prosecute the deputy who shot and killed 26-year-old Marc Denver Thompson in December. The deputy was “reasonable in finding it necessary to use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself and others,” Cranford said.
“I have concluded that this deputy did not violate the laws of the state of Georgia and I will not be presenting this case to the civil or criminal grand jury.”
The fatal shooting happened hours after Thompson threatened his family members with multiple weapons, prompting a SWAT standoff, officials said. The GBI was called to investigate the incident and turned over its findings to the DA’s office April 20, Cranford said.
The incident started as a domestic call from a home in the 200 block of Henson Circle, the GBI previously said. Carroll County deputies were sent there about 5 p.m. after Thompson’s mother and brother called and said he had threatened them with a gun.
Thompson had told his mother that he had smoked methamphetamine, Cranford said. Later in the night, the man threatened her with a butcher knife and then pulled a gun on her and his brother, the district attorney said.
The mother and brother escaped the house and called police from a nearby location, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. According to Cranford, the mother told investigators Thompson was in the house with “multiple guns at his disposal.”
When deputies arrived, Thompson’s car was in the driveway and his phone pinged to a point inside the home. Because Thompson was known to be armed, a SWAT team was assembled, the sheriff’s office said.
The standoff lasted for hours, but when the team went inside, they discovered Thompson was not there.
“His cellphone along with several firearms were located inside the residence, however the firearm he used during the domestic (incident) was not located,” the sheriff’s office said soon after the incident.
The sheriff’s office obtained warrants for Thompson’s arrest and issued a lookout notice for him.
At about 10 p.m., a deputy went to the Circle K convenience store at 1871 North Highway 27 to refuel his patrol car, Cranford said. There, he encountered Thompson.
The deputy saw a shirtless Thompson go into the gas station with a shovel, Cranford said.
“The deputy knew that Thompson was possibly under the influence of methamphetamine, had committed multiple aggravated assaults against his family members earlier that evening, was possibly armed with a firearm, and was in fact armed with a shovel,” Cranford said.
The deputy called a colleague who was still at the home on Henson Circle and said that he had spotted Thompson, Cranford said. During the call, the deputy saw Thompson hit something behind the gas station counter with the shovel.
Security footage shows the man striking a computer on the counter and lunging at the clerk, Cranford said.
“Fearing for the safety of the clerk, the deputy retrieved his service weapon and entered the gas station,” he said.
The deputy addressed Thompson by his first name and told the man to get on the ground, according to Cranford. He tried to get Thompson to drop the shovel, but he refused and ultimately charged the counter.
During the confrontation, Thompson hit the deputy in the head with the shovel, Cranford said. The deputy then shot at Thompson multiple times, killing him. The deputy was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Cranford said the details of the incident compelled him to close the case.
“At the time of the shooting, the deputy knew Thompson had threatened and assaulted his family with a knife and a gun earlier that night, the deputy knew that Thompson was likely high on methamphetamine, and the deputy knew Thompson potentially possessed a firearm,” Cranford said. “In addition, the deputy personally witnessed Thompson’s actual possession and violent use of a shovel, which is an object that when used offensively against another is likely to result in serious bodily injury, and the deputy witnessed Thompson’s violent actions in the store in the presence of the store clerk that prompted the store clerk to call 911.”
Asia Simone Burns is a watchdog reporter for the AJC. Burns was formerly an intern in AJC’s newsroom and now writes about crime. She is a graduate of Samford University and has previously reported for NPR and WABE, Atlanta’s NPR member station.