Macon DA says deputy was ‘justified’ in starting shootout that wounded armed suspect

A Middle Georgia district attorney has cleared a deputy of any wrongdoing in connection with a shooting that injured an armed suspect earlier this month.

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said Monday that Bibb County Deputy Jermiah Moneypenny was “justified” when he fired at a fleeing suspect, prompting a shootout in downtown Macon.

The shooting left the suspect, 29-year-old Benjamin Curtis Bivins, injured and prompted an officer-involved shooting investigation by the GBI, previously reported. The deputy was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is routine in use of force investigations.

RELATED: Middle Georgia deputy shoots, wounds suspect accused of chasing man with gun

Benjamin Curtis Bivins
Photo: Bibb County District Attorney's Office

“Based on my review of the evidence gathered thus far, it is clear that Deputy Jeremiah Moneypenny was justified in his actions and no charges will be filed against him stemming from this incident,” Cooke said in a news release. “In a case where the facts are clear, there’s no need to delay getting this deputy back to work protecting our community.”

The incident took place about 1:30 a.m. March 1, with Bivins fighting another man along Cherry Street, according to the GBI. The other man ran away to a nearby street, while Bivins gave chase and allegedly fired two gunshots.

Moneypenny was conducting an unrelated business check at a nearby nightclub and happened to see the gunfire, the GBI said. The deputy, who was on-duty and wearing his uniform, ordered Bivins to stop and drop his firearm, which led to a foot chase.

At some point during the chase, Bivins turned around and looked at Moneypenny while still holding the gun, the GBI said. The deputy “reasonably believed” the man was about to shoot at him, and he fired several shots at Bivins, the DA said.

The suspect is accused of returning fire as the chase continued onto Mulberry Street Lane. Bivins, who was shot during the exchange of gunfire, was taken into custody behind a dumpster, the GBI said. 

Authorities seized a handgun at the scene and found a loaded magazine on the suspect. A witness, who was talking to Moneypenny before the incident, told authorities he saw the suspect holding the gun and the exchange of gunfire.

Bivins survived his gunshot wound and was booked into the Bibb County jail, where he remains without bond. He faces a count of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer and two firearm-related charges.

The incident was the 19th officer-involved shooting investigation the GBI opened in 2020. As of Monday night, the agency had opened 26 such investigations.

MORE: Atlanta police involved in 2 shootings in span of hours

In other news:

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.