GBI: Teenage suspect who shot K-9 killed by officers in Clayton County

A teenager was fatally shot by law enforcement and a Clayton County police K-9 was killed Saturday, police said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

A teenager was fatally shot by law enforcement and a Clayton County police K-9 was killed Saturday, police said.

A teenager was fatally shot by Clayton County police Saturday following a manhunt that also left a police K-9 dead, according to the GBI on Sunday.

Stephon Ford, 17, was shot by police about eight hours after authorities initially made contact with him, Assistant Chief Bruce Parks said during an afternoon news conference. The teen was accused of shooting a Clayton police K-9 while authorities were attempting to arrest him.

“Our hearts go out to the Clayton County Police Department and colleagues of K-9 Waro. His dedicated service to our community will always be remembered,” Jonesboro police Chief Tommy Henderson said. “I also want to extend condolences to the family of Stephon Ford. This unfortunate incident is devastating and a tragic loss that will undoubtedly impact the lives of his loved ones.”

The incident began as a suspicious activity investigation involving three men at a motel in the 8200 block of Tara Boulevard, Henderson said. All three fled when Jonesboro police officers attempted to make contact, but at least one was quickly apprehended. Henderson added that marijuana and firearms were found in the men’s possession.

While trying to chase a suspect identified as Ford, Jonesboro police asked Clayton police for K-9 assistance around 1:45 a.m. Ford had run into a wood line, so the K-9 was deployed to search for him, Parks added.

Police K-9 Waro was able to track down the suspect, at which point officers told Ford to surrender, police stated. Ford was accused of then taking out a handgun and firing in the direction of officers.

The K-9, who had been with Clayton police for about three years, was shot in the back and had internal injuries, Parks said. No officers or local residents were injured in the incident.

“K-9 Waro is being recognized for his heroism and selflessness as he gave his life protecting others,” Clayton police said. “He was loved by many and will be sorely missed.”

🐕 Rest in Peace K9 Waro. 😞 Waro was shot and killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend a suspect. Thoughts...

Posted by Georgia Police K9 Foundation on Saturday, September 2, 2023

According to the GBI, police obtained arrest warrants for Ford, who was spotted in the woods behind some homes near the 300 block of West Avenue in Jonesboro. Officers gave Ford several commands for him to show his hands before an officer shot and killed him. No officers were injured.

“Ford had a handgun in his hand at the time he was shot,” the GBI stated. “When the weapon was inspected, it appeared it had malfunctioned while being fired.”

The GBI will continue its independent investigation into the shooting. Once that is complete, the results will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office for review.

It was the 66th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year.