Cops fatally shoot 3 suspects in 1 day, highlighting deadly month in Georgia

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Surprising data reveals fewer such shootings in metro Atlanta

Thursday was the deadliest day of the year so far for suspects at the hands of Georgia’s law enforcement officers after three men were shot and killed in separate incidents, according to the GBI. No officers were injured in any of the three shootings.

The shootings highlight what has been a violent month around the state, with the GBI investigating 14 officer-involved shootings in June. So far, there have been 48 such shootings in Georgia this year, setting a pace almost identical to 2020, which saw a total of 96.

Credit: Henri Hollis

Credit: Henri Hollis

In each case Thursday, law enforcement officers were faced with armed men each firing a handgun during high-pressure confrontations, according to news releases from the GBI.

The first incident, which took place shortly after 6 a.m. in Barrow County, involved 29-year-old Jesse Dylan Thompson of Auburn, who fled a traffic stop, according to the GBI. Thompson led police on a brief high-speed chase before crashing. From his wrecked car, he pulled a handgun and fired at police officers, authorities said. The officers returned fire, hitting and killing him.

The second incident was later in the afternoon in Walton County. Sheriff’s deputies went to a home in Monroe to serve an out-of-state felony arrest warrant, the GBI said. They found the suspect, 52-year-old Ted Frank Tippy, at the home where he confronted the deputies with a gun. After a standoff with the man, during which he fired his handgun into the ceiling of the house, he made an aggressive move toward the deputies, the GBI said. He died at the scene.

The final incident Thursday happened when Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies responded to an unknown trouble call at a home on Dahlonega Highway. At the home, deputies saw 40-year-old Yonatan Aguilera threatening a woman with a gun, the GBI said. After Aguilera fired his gun into the ground in the direction of the woman, one of the deputies shot him multiple times. He was declared dead at the scene.

The Forsyth incident marked the 48th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year, 27 of which have resulted in death. Two officers have been killed, Lt. Justin Bedwell of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and Joe Burson of the Holly Springs Police Department.

Thursday’s three incidents brought June’s total to 14, easily the most violent month of 2021 in terms of officer-involved shootings.

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There have been two other days this year in which the GBI investigated three separate shooting incidents, according to the agency’s data, which has been independently verified by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On Feb. 27, law enforcement officers shot four suspects, killing two. The same happened April 12, when officers again shot four suspects across three separate incidents, leaving two dead.

Of the 14 officer-involved shootings so far in June, 11 have been fatal, another statistical high-water mark. March and May are tied for second place, with five fatal officer-involved shootings apiece.

Surprisingly, only 11 shootings involving law enforcement have been reported in the metro Atlanta area’s five core counties: Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton. Those counties are home to nearly 4 million people and about 36% of Georgia’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There have been no officer-involved shootings in Clayton this year.