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Richmond deputy shoots, kills suspect

Man was wielding knife; GBI is investigating

EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
A body is removed from crime scene Friday morning after a shooting involving sheriff's deputies
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 6:37 AM
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 1:37 AM
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A Richmond County deputy fatally shot a knife-wielding man Friday morning, an action that Sheriff Richard Roundtree said appeared to be justified.

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The body of a fatal shooting victim is loaded into a hearse at Fox Den Apartments on Friday morning.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
The body of a fatal shooting victim is loaded into a hearse at Fox Den Apartments on Friday morning.

“We have no evidence supporting the idea that any wrongdoing was done (by the officer),” Roundtree said at an afternoon news conference. “We believe the deadly force policy was followed.”

According to authorities, Deputy Michael J. Woodard killed Chaz Devell Williams, 21, after confronting him in a residence at Fox Den Apartments in the 3200 block of Wrightsboro Road. Deputies said they had been looking for Williams for about two hours after he had driven away from a police traffic stop, wrecked his car and fled.

Pat Morgan, the special agent in charge for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said a deputy began pursuing Williams’ car around 2:20 a.m. after he failed to stop for unspecified traffic offenses. That pursuit ended near Church’s Chicken on Wrightsboro Road when the vehicle ran into a fence and its driver, believed to be Williams, ran away. More officers were called in, and a search eventually led them to Fox Den Apartments.

According to Morgan, a group of deputies entered Apartment 133 about 4 a.m. and tried to take Williams into custody.

“There were several weapons in the home,” Morgan said. “A knife was involved.”

Woodard, a five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, fired more than one shot, killing the suspect, Morgan said.

Morgan would not elaborate on what led the officer to use his weapon or how the knife was involved. He said he was still interviewing witnesses, including two people who were at the residence at the time.

Roundtree said that, in general, police officers can use deadly force when they believe their lives or the life of another is in danger.

After the GBI concludes its investigation, the case will be handed over to the district attorney’s office.

Roundtree said there are no plans to suspend Woodard. He said the officer would be required to attend a session with a counselor before returning to work.

The Peace Officer Standards and Training Council requires that all officers complete deadly force training each year.

The dead man has a Richmond County arrest record, including a charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in Augusta 2011. The charge was reduced to possession of cocaine, and Williams was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Last August, Williams was arrested on charges of driving on a suspended/revoked license and having an expired tag.

An autopsy is scheduled this morning, Morgan said.

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single parent
395
Points
single parent 02/02/13 - 06:46 am
7
0
Exact

This type of thing is the exact reason I resigned as a area police officer. The lack of public knowledge when in this type job. ( 4 from behind attacks : >one had his hand on MY gun< and shot at twice, in less than a year. I then was disiplined for undo force?) It is like the soldier that enjoys that pay check while finding a way to sham his job, sending mama money, buying that car they always wanted, talking about how tough they are and all the fear they can handle. Then it hits them they are in country, its pitch black and people you do not know are trying to kill you.Now all of a sudden you have every complaint in the world, Mom is crying about how her baby was mangled, killed, or been deployed 3 times for example. Main point it is all fun until somebodies eye gets put out.
Like others in theirs comments until you face that demon there IS NO room for judgement. Knife or a wet noodle as a perp that ran in the first place you have just told me you mean me harm and pretty much not to bright. WHAT? STOP I WILL PUT YOU IN A TIME OUT ? Unless it was the wrong guy then wise move.
For the follks that say the family will have to go through sorrow, well I can bet you they were NOT blind to the young mans activities. You live by the sword, well you know. The young man made a choice to start with , quite frankly did not heed the 3 years probation as a way to fix the path, now the path is on top of him.
This is 2013 and it is dangerous for Law Enforcement which mind you is a job that has to be done by somebody!

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 02/02/13 - 07:43 am
6
3
Racially Charged Situation Best Handled by Roundtree

Lilly said, "It is the real thing - you have to read it to see the errors. The part I posted was just saying he told him not to release info."

Lilly, didn't the letter change that was originally posted? Read it again and see if it is different that the original version that was put up?

Again, folks, don't miss the point that this is a racially charged situation that the RCSO has to be careful handling. It is best to let Roundtree handle the matter and release info as he sees fit. Frankly, keeping the community calm is an advantage of having a black sheriff.

We've had some scary riots in the recent past. Remember the group of upset blacks walking down the street protesting with AK-47s a few years ago? The police pulled away to avoid a confrontation. With Sheriff Roundtree I don't think you will see such potential violence if he is allowed to handle the matter in the right way.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 02/02/13 - 07:59 am
6
0
GiantsAllDay - regarding Utah

1st please understand we are focused on AUGUSTA not the deeds or possible misdeeds 1500 miles away in another state, and city. Which has its own problems... NONE of which relate to this or any Augusta Shooting.

Now regarding Utah,
Most of the facts are there if you look for them. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19784346
It clearly shows the SLC County DA is being fair and honest in conducting investigations, having ruled both ways in shootings.

An important thing to remember are the terms Justified vs. Unjustified vs. Criminal intend charges. Unjustified means the officer did not clearly need to shoot but chose to given the situation. Criminal intend charges means the officer was reckless and was criminally chargeable.

In the mentioned UTAH cases so far, no criminal charges have been brought locally, at a state level, or at a Federal level.

Note:
Given the previous UTAH shootings, these investigations have historically taken 3 to 4 months to resolve? The Nov 2012 investigation is to be released soon according to the DA.

jahnardluv
43
Points
jahnardluv 02/02/13 - 07:50 am
1
7
Wow

Great point about the taser specsta..innorthagusta? U sound so full of hate towards a certain group of people(thugs). But what I don't get is, how come when a "thug" commits a crime, and usually it's against one victim, the plublic outcry is death, but when someone enters a school, has been happening since columbine, and shoots up the entire Camus and murders multiple, the first reaction is,"poor child must've had trouble had home and snapped, he's not that type of person." Mind u these crimes are commuted by the same race everytime. Yet, the parents of the "thugs" u speak about, send their children to school everyday, but u MR., or MS., most likey clutch your wallet, or purse when a "thug" walks by. Seems as though your more concerned with getting robbed rather than getting killed just by attending your local mall and shopping, as the people I mentioned above has done numerous times as well. Moral of this statement is, stop looking for a reason to dislike a certain people and learn to love all people because we all sin differently. And for as the shootings incident goes, I pray for both families involved, but I will say our officers of today ignore other non lethal tactics to subdue suspects, I mean a knife?..come on..a taser would've knocked him on his butt and stiffened him up, there would've been any resistance. But I wasn't in the officers' shoes and I don't walk them daily, with that being said, I can't judge his actions.

JRC2024
8557
Points
JRC2024 02/02/13 - 08:38 am
6
0
jahnardluv, I bet the child

jahnardluv, I bet the child involved in the school shooting would have been shot if there was an armed person there. The parents do not send their thug children as you say to school everyday. They are already out of school. People hold on to their wallets and purses when around or approaching people who look like they would rob them and that is natural around anybody. Right now in my area the police are looking for a fella who comes up to your car at the stop sign and asks for money and if you do not give him any he tries to jerk you out of the car, he knocks on your door and asks for yard work and when you say no he gets mad and comes back and steals your possessions. Do you think it would be wrong to protect yourself from people like this by whichever way possible, I think not. This is going on in the Harrisburg and Summerville area right now. If he was killed by a police officer protecting the citizens of these areas or any area then so be it.
That person made his choice.

LillyfromtheMills
13019
Points
LillyfromtheMills 02/02/13 - 08:56 am
1
1
RM-letter

Same as the 1st time I read it.

americafirst
965
Points
americafirst 02/02/13 - 08:58 am
6
0
While we don't yet know

While we don't yet know exactly what happened in that apartment, in my opinion a taser is not the appropriate response in most deadly force situations. When are officer is faced with deadly force by a suspect, the proper response is deadly force. An officer should not take any chances with his life simply because some suspect decides he doesn't want to be arrested and is willing to kill an officer to avoid arrest.

my.voice
4731
Points
my.voice 02/02/13 - 09:07 am
8
0
A taser is not a weapon of

A taser is not a weapon of defense, it's meant for unruly and non-compliant folks to bring them back down to reality. The youg man pulled the knife, he opened the door, the deputy was just the first to step thru it. I'm saddened a young life was required, but grateful the deputy is not the one in the morgue.

americafirst
965
Points
americafirst 02/02/13 - 09:12 am
6
0
MV. Exactly. Could not agree

MV. Exactly. Could not agree more. The suspect chose the most likely outcome.

innorthaugusta
50
Points
innorthaugusta 02/02/13 - 09:33 am
6
0
Wow

I'm not targeting a "certain group of people" If ANYONE, endangers, threatens an officer of the law with any kind of weapon, and the officers life could be endanger, yes I believe they should shoot the suspect. PERIOD! Hate? If you read the news, you see this stuff everyday. We just acknowledged the death of three officers in a 2 month month period killed a year ago. I'm sorry, I have NO sympathy for people causing harm to other innocent people. The law in this country is more toward the criminal than the victim. The wheels of justice move too slow. People like Rivera, the killers of those cops should have been grass fertilizer by now. They need to know there WILL be a BIG price to pay if they choose trying to hurt or kill innocent people including our officers of the law. Frankly, I would like to see Sheriff Roundtree order the shoot to kill.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 02/02/13 - 09:41 am
6
1
Willow said, "Yeah, you are

Willow said, "Yeah, you are right River, but I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere around when Sheriff Strength faces the truth of the source of his real anger."

Explain that one.

Truth Matters
6633
Points
Truth Matters 02/02/13 - 10:12 am
1
3
A little this and that....

I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the work and sacrifice our law enforcement teams render for all of our safety. Having said that, I have been concerned by the posts of certain bloggers on these pages for sometime. Even in print one can often discern another's tone and temperament. Well today based on what I read here one of those individuals is in law enforcement of some sort. Suffice it to say I am really concerned about the postings and the underlying tone. Proof positive that we all need to watch our tone, something people may not do when posting anonymously.

Posting in all caps still means "screaming/yelling" in my world. It can also reflect anger or, yes, emphasis. But it is the context that matters.

And if anyone is tempted to contact Sean about this post, maybe you should ask the question, "Is it me or this poster?"

itsanotherday1
42228
Points
itsanotherday1 02/02/13 - 10:25 am
3
1
jahnardluv

When it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck; the general, natural assumption is that it is a duck.

Yes, that is unfair to the ones that aren't ducks, but they need to separate themselves if they have sensitive feelings. My safety is more important than their feelings.

Casting_Fool
1121
Points
Casting_Fool 02/02/13 - 10:47 am
4
0
Choice

When you choose to commit a crime, you set yourself outside of society, it's laws and accepted practices of dealing with others. You choose to accept the consequences due from whatever law you are breaking.

If it's speeding, a ticket. If it's stealing, maybe jail time. If it's pulling any weapon on someone else (whether that's a law enforcement officer or a civilian), you choose the possibility of your own death.

It's not that society is "picking on you" (for whatever reason; race, economics or [fill in the blank]), but that you chose your own path.

If that had been my own son, I'd be sad that he was dead, but madder than hell at him that he died stupid. Since I know that both of us are redeemed, not churchy, not religious; when I finally get Home, I'd give him a piece of my mind upon my arrival, too.

Way too many people commit crimes and die for it, and all we hear is how wonderful they were in life, how they sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, raised the dead, healed the sick, and helped little old ladies across the street.

After their death, their families publish pictures of them when they were 10 years old and smiling, holding babies, being hugged by loved ones, and kissing the Pope's ring.

But we don't see the miserable lives that they led that led up to their deaths. We aren't introduced to the numerous victims of their crimes, or the damage that they've done to other lives and the rest of society.

We just hear how unfair it was that they died. We hear cries that it was race or economics that led to their death.

Stupid is as stupid does.

If you choose to break the law, you choose the consequences. You don't have to be a genius to know that you're making a bad choice by getting drunk, getting high, stealing, selling drugs, driving too fast, stealing from others, committing violence against others, murdering, or pulling a weapon on someone else.

... and, please, don't tell me that I would feel differently if it was my son who died in that incident. I've buried three of my babies and my wife. My remaining son has the same metabolic disorder that killed his mother. Death has my number on speed dial. His horse knows the way to my home so well that he could get here with his eyes closed.

Society needs to stop feeling sorry for people who choose lives of crime and of doing harm to others, and start coming down hard on them. Families need to use their deaths as opportunities to let the rest of the family know that this is what happens when you choose that sort of life, so don't make the same choice!

Crime is a choice, not an unavoidable consequence of being of a particular race, economic status, sexual preference, religion or creed. Either make good choices, or learn to accept that making bad choices could result in your life being uncomfortable, unpleasant, and possibly very short.

seenitB4
85748
Points
seenitB4 02/02/13 - 10:46 am
5
1
Thank you casting fool

For placing the best post on here...bar none!!!

Society needs to stop feeling sorry for people who choose lives of crime and of doing harm to others, and start coming down hard on them. Familes need to use their deaths as opportunities to let the rest of the family know that this is what happens when you choose that sort of life, so don't make the same choice!

You are 100% correct.....when I think of what law enforcement has to endure with critics...especially on here I wonder how can they even do their jobs....we are sinking with CRIME...let the police do their JOB!!
Yes..I'm shouting....GEEZ folks..

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/02/13 - 11:06 am
2
1
"Morgan would not elaborate

"Morgan would not elaborate on what led the officer to use his weapon or how the knife was involved. He said he was still interviewing witnesses, including two people who were at the residence at the time."

Because of the circumstances and background of the victim, most of us, including myself, want to come to the defense of the deputy. Truthfully, we lack the information to do so at this time. It's difficult, because we are all so sick of drug users and dealers and trouble makers in general.

We should also strive to remember when making our comments that there is a family out there, burying their son, grandson, brother, nephew, etc.

We should respect and support our law enforcement officers.
Still, the process of getting to the truth is very important for all of us and it should never be overlooked.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/02/13 - 11:24 am
1
4
River, I wasn't going to

River, I wasn't going to further comment on the subject, but I don't want you to think that was my little thumb on your 8:41. (Friends don't thumbs down friends:) I can explain it, but do you really think I need to?

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 02/02/13 - 11:49 am
3
1
Willow, I know where

Willow, I know where Strength's stonewalling toward someone in the media came from. Statements the person made about Patti Strength controlling Strength...right? Is that what you mean? I still didn't quite understand the way you put it, but it's up to you if you want to elaborate or not.

PS If I tried to figure out all the thumbs downs I get and who gave them to me, I'd be a busy boy. I get lots. Heh.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/02/13 - 12:02 pm
4
4
Let me clear up a few things...

The suspect was pronounced dead @4:37AM. That specific details were not officially released until late afternoon is inexcusable. Especially in a case involving so many eyewitnesses to what happened.

WHY is that important? Ask Riverman. He seems to think there could be racial tension associated with such an event. If that is true, one of the WORST things you can do is offer no comment for more than 8 freaking hours in the middle of the day.

Look at the Channel 12 interview with the perp's girlfriend. SHE described exactly what happened...which is EXACTLY what I described yesterday at 7:50AM.

For those of you concerned that the officer's family "heard about it on the radio"...nope. They knew what happened, because Woodard called his wife afterwards for a very brief update. I know this, because she told me in the "thank you" note she sent me late yesterday.

For those of you who discussed the letter that was sent to my corporate bosses complaining about my actions yesterday...not only were all my reports accurate...but there was NO WAY that the family of the officer involved was harmed or injured by my report, and to suggest such a thing is silly.

Roundtree is mad because I will not jump through his hoops when I know for a fact the policies are not in the public's best interest. There may be times when silence is golden, THIS was clearly not one of those times. I gave them over three hours...which is more than enough time to withhold the name of the officer (AFTER his family had been notified).

Reporting the sad (and horrific) details of what the officer faced when he went in to apprehend Williams would have shut down virtually ALL criticism of the decision to fire on him. At least among all but the insane.

This is a great example of "no information released" doing way more harm than good. Especially when all the details were so simply laid out right in front of them.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/02/13 - 12:08 pm
3
2
Oh...and Riverman...

While it is 100% true that Sheriff Strength did stop talking to me (and who could blame him?) he did make sure important info was funneled my way up to his very last week in office. Ask Freddie.

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 02/02/13 - 12:17 pm
2
5
Austin

Well said, Austin and I agree with you 100%. Check out opencurtain's remarks to me:
1) Please don't comment anymore about those poor school children who were murdered in Connecticut. You see, that's far away from AUGUSTA and has no bearing with the society here
2) in opencurtain's world, a cop can shoot and kill someone unjustifiably and go to work the next day. But again, since it did not happen in your little corner of the world, you need not care about it or even comment.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/02/13 - 12:22 pm
3
2
How often has it been said

How often has it been said here, "whatever happened to investigative reporting"?

There seems to be a power struggle and an effort to control information which is not beneficial to the public. The media has a purpose, and we are all better off for it. Keep up the good work, Austin.

corgimom
31466
Points
corgimom 02/02/13 - 12:30 pm
3
1
A knife can kill you just as

A knife can kill you just as dead as a gun can.

To suggest that a knife isn't as dangerous as a gun is not reality.

And if I felt threatened by someone with a knife, and I had a gun, I'd shoot them too.

If you don't want to be shot by the police, don't do wrong things. That's a simple concept that seems to escape some people. These people that are shot by the police bring it on themselves. And when you do wrong things, you don't get to choose what happens to you. Choose the behavior, choose the consequences.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/02/13 - 12:42 pm
4
2
TASERS in this case...better hope not!

The perp was covered in blood, bleeding profusely, and lunging in close quarters with a sharp knife. You know the failure rate of a taser in such cases? And if he fell forward, or kept coming, how would you like to be the officer who gets CUT and CONTAMINATED with the body fluids of THAT dude?

Gunfire was the best choice, and thank goodness, there was no delay in making that decision. A cut to one of those officers would have sentenced them to six years of doubt as to whether or not they had been given a deadly disease.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 02/02/13 - 12:53 pm
3
2
Confidence in Law Enforcement

I have confidence law enforcement will make the right decisions of what and when to release information to the media. We seem to have a difference of opinion of what could have caused more distress to the Deputy involved, his family and caused unrest with the public. We can debate the possibilities, but when the Sheriff is saying stay quiet and let me handle this matter, I tend to believe him. He is looking out for the people who work for him…and keeping the public safe.

If y’all want an important public official who won’t say anything to the press during important incidents, take a look at our Mayor who turned off his phone and headed for the beach for days during the Cherry Tree riots.

Austin, I’m happy Sheriff Strength would make sure appropriate and pertinent police info was sent your way even if he wouldn’t talk to you. That must have made you feel a lot better.

A minor question, the letter from Roundtree that was placed in the social media was the exact letter, typos and all?

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/02/13 - 12:53 pm
3
1
You mean the letter from Roundtree?

With the exception of deleting a few phone numbers and email addresses, it was copied 100% from the top right down to the bottom of Roundtree's signature and title. I did stop there.

OH...and since I have shared the info about the THANK YOU note (and phone call) from Erin Woodard, why are you doubting me about the "family distress"?

As far as 8 hours plus being "helpful" on keeping the public in the dark about the overwhelming need to shoot the suspect, yeah, me and 90% of the Free World will disagree with you and Roundtree on that one.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/02/13 - 12:57 pm
2
0
@River "I have confidence law

@River "I have confidence law enforcement will make the right decisions of what and when to release information to the media."

Let me make a slight change... I agree it is their right to do so. BUT it's absolultely none of their business what the media uncovers and reports. And we sure don't want to see the laws on that changing.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/02/13 - 01:01 pm
4
2
Willow...

...while I appreciate the support...there are PLENTY of times the media needs to withhold information for the public good. This AIN'T one of them...but there are times when restraint is needed and required.

Roundtree's silly rules are being roundly ignored. I am the only one he is griping about for obvious reasons.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 02/02/13 - 01:04 pm
3
2
Willow, yep, I agree with

Willow, yep, I agree with that. But there is also a relationship with the press and law enforcement that is usually honored. In my opinion, there was a very good reason to go slow with everything released. There was a very real possibility of unrest in that neighborhood. One thing we know, is nothing has happened so far and I give much of the credit to the RCSO and its leadership.

Austin, I changed the Strength to Roundtree before you posted, but you probably missed it. So you are saying the letter was changed in some minor ways with deletions? There were two typos and possibly one grammatical error in the letter that I saw. Were those in the original? You had some typos in your other FB posts that day you said were due to being rushed and I am simply wondering?

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/02/13 - 01:06 pm
2
0
@River..."We can debate the

@River..."We can debate the possibilities, but when the Sheriff is saying stay quiet and let me handle this matter, I tend to believe him. He is looking out for the people who work for him…and keeping the public safe."

Sorry to go a little maverick on you, but you did complain about Roundtree "staying quite and looking out" for the secretary who stole money from the school system, did you not?

You can't have it both ways. Regardless, of who the sheriff is, what is always needed is the truth.

We need don't need for the sheriff to look out for anyone, or even to have great spelling and grammer skills. We need for him to just uphold the law.

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