An attempted traffic stop turned deadly Friday morning after a chase, an exchange of gunfire and a SWAT standoff on the side of a Snellville road, authorities said.
The man at the center of the police activity was shot and killed when Gwinnett County SWAT officers responded to assist Snellville police, according to the Gwinnett agency. It was the end to a long ordeal that kicked off about 4 a.m. when Snellville officers attempted to pull over the man’s vehicle.
In a news release, the GBI said the Snellville officer was trying to pull the vehicle over due to a tag violation.
Snellville police Detective Jeff Manly said the driver “took off at high speed” when the officers tried to stop him, initiating a chase. The officers positioned their cruiser to disable the vehicle, commonly known as a PIT maneuver, and it crashed near the woods along Temple Johnson Road near Pate Road.
The GBI’s version of events is similar but does not include the driver firing at officers at this point.
The driver allegedly would not show his hands when asked and pointed a gun at officers. That prompted them to shoot at the driver while backing up behind their patrol vehicle in anticipation of gunfire, the release said.
The driver continued to ignore commands while trying to rev the car’s engine unsuccessfully, according to the GBI.
“While they were trying to engage with the suspect, at one point he lifted up his firearm and pointed it at our officers,” she said. “One of our officers assigned to the SWAT team fired one round.”
The GBI said the driver fired at the SWAT officers when he raised his weapon, according to the release. No officers were injured.
It has not been determined if the round from the SWAT officer killed the man, or if he was hit by one of the Snellville officer’s bullets, Pihera said. He was dead when SWAT members surrounded the car again to attempt to perform first aid.
A handgun was located at the scene, the GBI said.
The man has not been identified. The GBI said it is withholding his name pending next-of-kin notification.
“Right now we're still trying to determine who he is in relation to the vehicle,” Pihera said. “The officers feel pretty confident that he’s not the registered owner, but they are going to try to confirm that.”
The GBI is leading the investigation. It is the 45th police shooting the agency has been asked to investigate in 2020, a GBI spokeswoman said.
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.
— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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