For eight minutes, a Carrollton police corporal had a calm, respectful conversation with a man who reportedly had a gun at an ATM. But things quickly escalated, with the officer screaming orders at the man to not touch his gun, according to audio released Friday.
“Don’t take that gun out or I’ll shoot you!” Cpl. Chad Cook shouted.
“I have authority…” Kenneth Joel Dothard replies.
Seconds later, the officer fired two shots, striking the 40-year-old man in the head and killing him.
Video has not been released of the Thursday night shooting. But the audio released by the GBI offered insight into the incident, which seemingly ended when Dothard refused to listen to the officer’s orders. It’s not clear whether Dothard was holding his gun when he was shot.
The incident began about 9 p.m. Thursday when a woman called 911 to report a suspicious person with a gun in the area of the Community Southern Bank on Bankhead Highway, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang said.
Cook, a 7½-year veteran of the Carrollton Police Department, responded to the scene near the intersection of Bankhead Highway and Burns Road, approached Dothard and noticed what appeared to be a gun in a holster.
Cook, Lang said, also noticed something else: The man was no stranger. Carrollton police had previous run-ins with Dothard, and Cook knew he lived and worked nearby. On the audio recording of the incident, Cook can be heard questioning Dothard for about eight minutes.
Cook asked Dothard if he was carrying a firearm, and he replied that he did have a firearm in the holster.
Dothard first told Cook he had a permit to carry the gun, but didn’t have the permit on him. Later, Dothard told Cook he didn’t know he had to have a permit to carry a gun.
Asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony, Dothard, whose record included two felony drug-related convictions, replied, “Yes, sir.”
When Cook requested backup, Dothard became agitated and asked the officer why he called for backup.
“I’m going to have to have another unit to come out here with me right now because of the questions I’m asking you,” Cook said. “You’re making me feel like you know you shouldn’t have a gun on you.”
At that point, Dothard allegedly put his hand on the gun.
Cook: “Don’t take that gun out! Do not take the gun out!”
Dothard: “Do not touch me.”
As Dothard allegedly continued to remove the weapon, Cook shouted, “Don’t take that gun out or I’ll shoot you.”
About two seconds later, two shots can be heard, followed by Cook shouting into his radio: “Shots fired. Shots fired. Shots fired. Suspect is down.”
Carrollton police Chief Joel Richards requested the GBI investigate the shooting and Cook was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the GBI’s investigation.
Friend Charlie Thomas told Channel 2 Action News that Dothard was a “super guy” who worked at a local restaurant.
“He didn’t do anything but work,” Thomas said. “He didn’t talk that much to nobody. He lived by himself.”
His last known residence, according to Lang, was the Efficiency Lodge in the 700 block of Bankhead Highway.
“The GBI will conduct a thorough investigation to determine what occurred during the incident,” Lang said of the Carrollton shooting. “When the investigation is complete it will be turned over to the district attorney for any action he deems appropriate.”
—Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this report.
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