A Carroll County deputy, who shot a man who was on methamphetamine and driving a patrol car toward a fellow deputy, has been cleared of any wrongdoing, authorities said.
The deputy, who was not identified, shot and killed 32-year-old Jessie Thedford on April 14, 2018, prompting an investigation by the GBI, AJC.com previously reported.
Coweta County District Attorney Herb Cranford said in a news release Tuesday the deputy “was reasonable in finding it necessary to use deadly force in defense of others.”
About 24 hours before the incident, Thedford’s pregnant girlfriend told Douglasville police that he had physically abused her when the couple returned to Georgia from a trip to Mississippi, the release said. Out of fear, she stayed at a hotel room instead of at her parents’ house, which was in the 200 block of Little River Road.
The next day, Thedford told deputies that she assaulted him in the car. But he had a pocket knife and brass knuckles in his vehicle, which undermined his claim, the release said.
Later that morning, the girlfriend’s mother received a call from her 12-year-old granddaughter who said Thedford was spotted near her home, the release said. The mother then called 911 and said Thedford was on meth, might have a gun in his car and “was capable of anything.”
The GBI’s autopsy on Thedford showed he had meth in his system, the release said.
Deputies responded to the mother's 911 call, and when they arrived at her duplex, Thedford was inside the one next to theirs, the release said. He told the deputies he entered the apartment through an open window.
Thedford was detained, and a knife was found in his front pocket and meth was found in his underwear, the release said. Thedford was on parole at the time after being convicted of multiple felonies, including burglary and first-degree forgery.
He was placed in the rear of a patrol car while the deputies continued to investigate, and within two minutes, Thedford managed to get his handcuffed hands from behind his back to in front of him, the release said.
He got into the driver's seat, and a Glock handgun was in the passenger seat along with other firearms in the trunk, the release said. He drove toward one of the deputies, barely missing him.
The other deputy then shot Thedford three times, hitting him once in the arm and twice in the torso, the release said. The deputy told investigators he feared for his life, the life of the deputy who was almost hit by the car and that Thedford would’ve been a danger to the public had he escaped the scene in the patrol car.
Thedford later died at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton.
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