GBI: Officers respond to wrong house, shoot homeowner

My AJC – by Christian Boone and Craig Schneider

A call to 911 reporting gunshots that apparently never occurred led to the shooting of an innocent man early Wednesday morning in Stockbridge.

William Powell, 63, is in serious condition at Atlanta Medical Center after being shot by a Henry County police officer. According to the officers, Powell ignored orders to put down his handgun. One of the officers then fired at the homeowner, striking him in the neck.  

GBI: Officers respond to wrong house, shoot homeownerBut a neighbor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that police didn’t do a good enough job identifying themselves.

“I think the police should identify themselves more if they show up at someone’s house in the middle of the night, instead of just shining lights in their windows,” said Darrell Cooper, who has known Powell for at least 30 years. “He’s a fine man.”

Cooper did not witness the shooting.

A preliminary review of the 911 call indicates “the officers were at the wrong location,” said Scott Dutton, spokesman for the GBI, which is investigating the shooting.

The argument that prompted the initial call to 911 at 11:54 p.m. Tuesday took place at a neighbor’s house — where, it turns out, no shots had been fired, Dutton said. The operator was never given an exact address even after contacting the caller a second time, he said.

“Something got lost in communication,” Dutton said.

Powell, according to his mother-in-law, Geraldine Huey, had gone outside to investigate a possible intruder.

“He went to see what the dogs were carrying on about,” said Huey, 85, who lives next door. “He (picked) up his gun and when he got to the gate, they shot him.”

She said she heard a “racket” at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. But when she couldn’t see any activity she went back to bed.

She woke up to see numerous police cars surrounding the home in the 600 block of Swan Lake Road.

“Every tree was lit up,” Huey said.

She tried to call her daughter’s house but couldn’t get through. Then she went outside but the police wouldn’t allow her access to her daughter.

“It’s a big mess,” she said. “Police evidently thought they had the right house.”

Powell is an Air Force veteran with three grown children, according to his mother-in-law.

“He worked all his life. Went to school,” she said. “Just somebody you’d really like to know. He’s right here for me any time.”

No officers were injured in the incident. The officer who shot Powell was placed on paid administrative leave, Henry police Capt. Joey Smith said.

Dutton said much remains unclear about Powell’s shooting.

“The sequence of events, who knew what first, is still being sorted out,” he said.

When asked her reaction to what happened, Huey told an AJC reporter, “It’s better that I keep that to myself.”

It was the second officer-involved shooting in the last month on Swan Lake Road. On May 14, Henry police, responding to a report of domestic violence, fatally shot a man who, earlier that evening, had shot at, but missed, his father.

Cooper said the neighborhood was generally a safe one, populated mainly by older residents.

Wednesday morning’s “wrong address” shooting was the second such incident in less than a year. Last August, a DeKalb County officer shot a fellow officer and a homeowner after police were dispatched to the wrong location on a reported burglary call.

And in 2006, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed when a group of undercover Atlanta police detectives forced their way into her home and she fired a warning shot at them. The detectives were acting on faulty information that illegal drugs would be found at the home. The officers were sentenced to prison for attempting to cover up the botched raid.

Powell’s exact prognosis was unclear as of Wednesday night. His mother-in-law said he is surrounded by family at Atlanta Medical.

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/crime-law/gbi-officers-respond-to-wrong-house-shoot-homeowne/nrcj8/

4 thoughts on “GBI: Officers respond to wrong house, shoot homeowner

  1. If any of us “accidentally” shot out neighbor, would we be put on administrative leave and continue to collect a paycheck? I think not.

  2. The idiots are being trained to open fire on anything, so if you see a cop, it’s only wise to get him in your cross-hairs first.

    I think they want us to attack the cops, to provide an excuse to bring in UN or NATO troops to “restore order”. If that’s the case, so be it, but regardless of whether or not cops are being set up to be used as pawns, they’re pawns on the wrong side of the chessboard, and they’ll have to be cut down for their attack on the American people.

    1. “… regardless of whether or not cops are being set up to be used as pawns…”

      Of that there can be little doubt, JR.

      Well below average intelligence is definitely a prerequisite to being hired.

  3. “He went to see what the dogs were carrying on about,” said Huey, 85, who lives next door. “He (picked) up his gun and when he got to the gate, they shot him.”

    He’s lucky to be alive, and lucky they didn’t shoot the dogs as well.

    “I think the police should identify themselves more if they show up at someone’s house in the middle of the night, instead of just shining lights in their windows,” said Darrell Cooper…”

    What, and give their victims a chance to shoot first?

    Not likely.

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