No charges for Villa Rica officer who shot suspect twice

A Villa Rica police officer who shot an Athens man who crashed into two police cars before leading officers on a pursuit will not face charges.

A Carroll County grand jury declined to prosecute Officer Noah Tolbert, who shot Daniel Daigle outside a Bankhead Highway convenience store last year, District Attorney Herb Cranford said Wednesday.

Daigle was shot twice the morning of April 26, 2018, once in his right forearm and once in his left thigh.

The incident began when Villa Rica officers responded to an alarm call at the Easy Quick Shop gas station about 4:30 a.m., the GBI said. When police arrived, officers found Daigle pumping air into his tires. While one officer checked out the store, another questioned Daigle outside and asked for identification.

Before the officer outside could run his information, however,  Daigle pulled his vehicle forward past the air pump, the GBI said previously. Despite being told not to leave the scene, Daigle reportedly drove into two police vehicles and toward Officer Mason Newman.

Tolbert then fired his weapon twice, striking Daigle, who sped off, the GBI said.

RELATED: Man accused of ramming 2 police vehicles shot twice

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Daigle led police on a brief chase before officers lost him. His blood-soaked vehicle was discovered about 5 miles away and he was arrested later at a Temple home on Jennifer Lane, authorities said. Daigle survived his gunshot wounds and was subsequently charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, interference with government property, drug trafficking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and several other charges.

It turned out he was wanted on failure to appear and forgery charges as well as a felony warrant on a methamphetamine possession charge, police said.

The GBI conducted its own investigation into Tolbert’s use of force, which is typical in officer-involved shootings.

Last month, the case was turned over to the grand jury, which heard from several officers, including Tolbert himself, the DA said. Jurors were shown Tolbert’s body camera footage as well as dash-cam videos from the two patrol cars, Cranford said.

They declined to recommend any criminal charges against the officer.

“...After considering all of the above, the Grand Jury recommends no indictment be presented which charges Officer Tolbert with any criminal offense,” the jurors’ report said.

Cranford agreed, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove that Tolbert acted unreasonably when he used force to prevent death or bodily harm to his fellow officer.

“Consequently, the District’s Attorney’s Office considers this matter closed,” he wrote.

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