Officials: Georgia murder suspect shot by police had BB gun
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A murder suspect was pointing a BB pistol at police and U.S. marshals when they fatally shot the man while trying to arrest him at his home, Georgia authorities said Wednesday.
The disclosure by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation raises questions about how a Savannah-Chatham County police officer was wounded in the confrontation that killed 20-year-old Ricky Jerome Boyd. The GBI agent in charge of the investigation confirmed the officer was struck by gunshots but could not say whether they were fired by fellow law officers.
Local police and federal marshals came to Boyd’s home in Savannah early Tuesday with an arrest warrant charging Boyd in the slaying of a 24-year-old man Sunday. Occupants of the home were told to come outside, the GBI said in a news release, and when Boyd emerged, he confronted officers with what looked like a handgun.
Boyd was shot several times by officers after he ignored their verbal warnings and raised the weapon, which was later determined to be a “BB air gun” powered by carbon-dioxide, the GBI said. Boyd died later at a hospital.
Savannah police Sgt. Sean Wilson was also taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.
“The officer did suffer gunshot wounds as well as other possible injuries,” said Bill Bodrey, the GBI agent heading the shooting investigation.
Asked whether Wilson was struck by gunfire fired by other law enforcement officers, Bodrey said: “It’s still being investigated.”
The GBI said Boyd was wanted in the slaying of 24-year-old Balil Whitfield, who was found shot to death in a vehicle Sunday.
Savannah police asked the GBI to investigate the shooting of Boyd, which is common practice in Georgia when police are involved in shootings.
Boyd’s mother, Jameillah Smiley, was demanding answers before the GBI revealed he was holding a BB gun.
“I want to clear my son’s name. He did not shoot no cop,” Smiley told WTOC-TV . “All I want to know is why they came here and gunned my (expletive) son down. They could have shot him in the leg.”