SUV involved in Sunday shooting was not stolen, say GBI, sheriff

The SUV driven by a man fatally wounded Sunday by police was not stolen, the GBI said today. However, agents investigating the case would not say who owns the vehicle.


Controversy has surrounded ownership of the Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Justin Elmore, who was shot by sheriff’s deputies who said he was trying to run over them after they had stopped him near Augusta’s Cherry Tree Crossing housing project.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Gary Nicholson said Friday the vehicle driven by Mr. Elmore, 23, was not stolen, but he would not release any information about its ownership.

On Thursday Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said some public confusion likely stems from calls to police of a similar vehicle reported stolen Sunday night.

“Never was I ever told that the SUV was stolen,” he told The Chronicle. “He was in his SUV. It was about the drugs and the gun.”

Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputies Jose Ortiz and Michael Hodge were responding to a tip about a man with drugs and weapons in his vehicle Sunday afternoon. When the deputies boxed in Mr. Elmore’s SUV, they said he rammed into one of the patrol cars leading Deputy Ortiz to fire his gun through the windshield.

Mr. Elmore died Tuesday night after being taken off life support at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Both deputies have been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation, which remains under way, Agent Nicholson said.

A malfunctioning dash camera video tape recorded during the incident Sunday has not yet been sent to the FBI Crime Lab in Washington for repair, he said. However, once repaired, the recording will not show details of the shooting, Agent Nicholson said. The camera was faced toward an apartment at Cherry Tree Crossing.

“In order to be thorough, we wanted to still check the tape,” he said.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215or



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