A man was killed Wednesday in an exchange of gunfire with police at a Roswell gas station that marked the end of an hours-long SWAT standoff, according to officials.
Shortly before midnight Tuesday, Roswell officers were called about a suspicious person at a RaceTrac station on Crossville Road. The man, later identified as 28-year-old Raheem Freeman of Atlanta, was acting erratically and had been asked by employees to leave after having been at the gas station for several hours, according to the GBI, which is investigating the shooting.
When officers arrived, they saw Freeman with a handgun and asked him to drop the weapon, officials said. But he refused and instead barricaded himself inside the store.
All employees were evacuated, officials said, and North Fulton SWAT — a multi-agency team comprised of Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton officers — were called for assistance.
For nearly two hours, negotiators tried to convince Freeman to surrender, but he refused to speak with them or relinquish the weapon, according to police. SWAT members then deployed several less-lethal options to try to bring the man into custody but were ineffective. It’s not clear what methods were used, but chemical irritants such as pepper spray projectiles or tear gas are often used in law enforcement to flush out barricaded suspects.
As officers approached him, Freeman fired at them, police said. Several returned fire. The man was struck and then rushed to a hospital, where he died. No officers were injured.
In accordance with Roswell Police Department policy, the GBI was called to handle the investigation into the shooting, the department said. Once complete, the case file will be given to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for review.
GBI agents were cataloging evidence Wednesday morning at the scene, which encompassed the gas pumps, parking lot and convenience store.
At least one of the store windows had a clearly visible bullet hole and was completely shattered. Investigators appeared to concentrate on the area by the entrance, where a pair of sneakers and some clothes had been left behind. A gun also was found next to the building.
The incident was the 69th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate in 2023. As of the same time last year, there had been 87.