Police: Officers shot first in SW Atlanta fire shooting Wednesday

Contrary to eyewitness accounts, it appears that police shot first while attempting to subdue an armed man at a southwest Atlanta fire Wednesday.

That man has been identified as Charles D. Harris. Harris has been charged with one count of aggravated assault.

The incident started as a call to the Fire Department around 10:40 a.m. Firefighters noticed a man behind the neighboring house, brandishing a weapon and called for police backup.

The man was confronting a woman, later identified as a relative, and still waving his weapon when police arrived

“Once the male broke free of the female and after several verbal commands to drop the weapon, the armed male pointed the weapon in the direction of the uniformed officers,” according to the incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The officers as well as the arson inspectors, discharged their weapons striking the subject multiple times.”

Two eyewitnesses said at the time they saw Harris fire his weapon before officers. Police did not initially make a statement on who fired first Wednesday.

The fire was put out at the home after Harris was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Fire Battalion Chief Todd Edwards said while the department is still investigating what started the fire, they believe that it started somewhere in the rear of the house, probably in the basement.

Edwards also added that the house was a hoarder house, saying there was stuff stacked floor to ceiling in every room.

The police investigation into the shooting still continues, police said.