Late Tuesday, a man went to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in search of shelter. Within hours, he was dead after things spiraled out of control and a deputy was forced to shoot him inside the facility, officials said.
According to the sheriff and the GBI, 32-year-old Justin Oakes first entered the lobby of the sheriff’s office about 10:25 p.m.
“At least one deputy and one of our radio operators had contact with him, provided him water,” sheriff’s Sgt. Jesse Hambrick said.
At some point, Oakes started making “numerous” 911 calls from the bathroom, according to the GBI.
During those disturbing calls, provided by the GBI, he told the operator that someone poisoned him, that Charles Manson was in Douglasville, that someone put radiation in the room and that he had the door pinned. He also gave a false name.
“I’m about to be killed,” he said at one point.
Deputy James Miller and Lt. Charles Mitchell went to check on him about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Oakes, authorities said, was barricaded in the restroom. Miller and Mitchell pushed their way inside, only to discover he had a knife, authorities said.
They deployed a Taser, but Oakes continued moving in their direction with the knife and stabbed Miller twice, according to the sheriff’s office. At that point, Miller shot him.
Oakes, who had a mental illness, died on the scene, officials said.
“The deputy (did) what he was trained to do,” Sheriff Tim Pounds said during a morning news conference.
Miller, who served in the Marines, has been with the sheriff’s office for two years.
“He was very, very upset earlier,” the sheriff said.
The deputy didn’t want to shoot Oakes.
“No one wants to do that,” Pounds said. “But when he’s forced to do it, then you have no alternative.”
Mitchell, who served in the U.S. Army, is a 28-year veteran of the department.
Both are on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the GBI’s investigation.
Oakes was on parole from state prison after being released in February 2017, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. The charge was aggravated assault.
The deadly incident — the 23rd shooting this year in Georgia involving a law enforcement officer — was captured on the deputy’s body camera.
“I looked at the video, slowed it down, looked at it frame by frame,” Pounds said. “They (did) what they had to do and didn’t have a choice.”
The GBI is continuing to look into the shooting, which is standard protocol in use-of-force cases. In 2017, the GBI
investigated 95 officer-involved shootings.
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— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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