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Richmond deputy shoots, kills suspect

Man was wielding knife; GBI is investigating

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
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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myfather15 02/03/13 - 01:39 am
@jahnardluv; where do you

@jahnardluv; where do you come up with this non-sense? I would be the first to call for the mass shooters to be executed, IMMEDIATELY upon conviction. Not wait on death row for 20 years; three days later. You will NEVER hear me concerned about their "poor little mental status". I've never understood that aspect of America. We say "You can put mentally ill people to death." My question would be; what exactly do you want to do with them?

Do you want to TREAT Jared Loughner and someday release him? After committing a MASS MURDER? What about James Holmes? Why do we say we can't put them to death, then treat them for the rest of their lives? Do you honestly expect someone to one day say "We've treated him and feel he is cured, so he can be released." Is that a realistic goal? Would you want him as YOUR neighbor, even if they say he is cured?

Don't give me this crap about people talking about "thugs" and giving mass killers a pass. Pathetic, simply pathetic!!!

myfather15 02/03/13 - 01:38 am

"Posting in all caps still means "screaming/yelling" in my world."

Well, seeing as THIS isn't YOUR world; who cares what your concerned with. I'm just assuming you might be talking about me, since I know I've openly admitted to being a law enforcement officer and I also KNOW I use caps. You and I have also had some serious debates on these pages so I guess that could be fueling that comment.

When I use caps, it is to bring emphasis to that particular WORD; it's not screaming and yelling. That would be when I put NUMEROUS exclamation points behind it. But thanks again, for your OPINION. I'll file it exactly where it belongs.

Where I work at; I'm not allowed to use my name when blogging, commenting, etc. It's against department policy, not for what I might say, but because someone LIKE YOU could attempt to use my opinions against me, just because you don't like my point of view. I'm ABSOLUTELY not afraid and WISH I could use my real name (First and last) on this very site. I'm also not allowed to disclose the department I work for on ANY social website or media website such as this. There is a entire chapter in our SOP about these things. I can't be in uniform or include my County vehicle in ANY pictures placed on facebook, etc.

Also, if you did know my identity and wanted to see if my temperament is adequate for law enforcement; I wish you would. I've been in law enforcement for 16 years and during this ENTIRE career, I've been accused of excessive force TWO TIMES. In the HUNDREDS of incidents of having to use physical force, I've been complained on TWICE. To make it short, one was a guy I had to grab and "Bear hug" then took him to the ground, dislocating his shoulder and tearing my rotator cuff. So we both got injured and HE COMPLAINED.

The other was a drunk guy I was fighting on a elevated porch. His wife had called about him trying to fight her, her brother and every one else at the party. When I got there, his exacts words were "Come on up here and I'll kick your butt too." We were wrestling pretty hard; I shoved him backwards to get distance between he and I and he fell off the porch about 5 or 6 feet and CLAIMED to hurt his back. He got a lawyer and tried to say I THREW him off the porch. Lets just say, the case died quickly when HIS WIFE and EVERYONE there testified on my part. I KNEW I didn't do what he said, so no worries. Just as I'm not worried about your "concerns".

Then you go on to say; "Suffice it to say I am really concerned about the postings and the underlying tone."

Do you care to be specific? Or just want to take jabs? Tell me exactly what your so concerned about? Be bold; don't be afraid to let it fly! I've NEVER reported anyone on this website for abuse and NEVER will because I can take it. SEAN, correct me if I'm wrong!!

I'm not afraid! I will speak the truth and if it offends someone, maybe it should. If the truth offends, does that make it any less true?

myfather15 02/03/13 - 02:07 am

I'm wasting my time here, but I've got a little to waste so here goes.

Do you realize when an officer is involved in a shooting or any other use of deadly force, its NEVER their own department that investigates? If the officer that shot is a County deputy, it's almost always the State investigators that look into it. But I guess in YOUR opinion, we are ALL corrupt and just look out for one another. But of course, you couldn't be farther from reality. State and County agencies just don't have that much comradery. Some, but not as much as with our fellow deputies and troopers that beat the streets. Trust me, State Investigators do NOT just look out for us. As a matter of fact, I've known several to actually go after deputies vehemently. But I realize, there is NOTHING that will satisfy your thirst for LE blood. You will just continue to bash LE at every opportunity that presents itself.

Also, your comment should be enough for YOU to understand how this happened in Utah. No, I didn't take the time to read the link you posted, because I take enough time on here as is. But, you said "Ruled Unjustified" and the Salt Lake City DA doesn't prosecute. Do you realize the DA is the highest prosecuting official in that County? So, maybe your problem shouldn't be with the LE agencies and should be with the DA. Hey, why don't you move out there and help vote them out in the next election? Sounds like a fine idea to me, you should go help make a stand against this tyranny!!

By the way, could be tell me exactly how you would fix ALL the corruption in EVERY law enforcment agencie in the United States? Who would you have doing the policing? Because policing is done by MEN and men DO make mistakes, thats EVERY MAN (meaning mankind, don't start calling me sexist). You replace every LE officer in this Country and will be replacing them with MANKIND. Hence, you will still have corruption somewhere in the profession. Is Washington free of corruption? Are sports free of corruption? Are financial institutions free of corruption? So please, name me a profession which is completely free of any type of corruption!! I'll look foward to your response.

Riverman1 02/03/13 - 08:04 am
"I must really be missing

"I must really be missing something. I'll have to go back and reread all the comments. What attacks were made on Sheriff Roundtree and the RCSO on this thread?"

Well, maybe no one did attack Roundtree. I could have sworn some of the comments were about the RCSO refusing to release info and Roundtree's criticism of Austin for doing so. But I could be wrong. It's nice to know everyone supports the RCSO and Sheriff. :)

Austin Rhodes
Austin Rhodes 02/03/13 - 10:43 am
My criticism... and always has been this silly, asinine media policy. Roundtree has done many good things, but threatening his top people for having a good working dialogue with the media (without silly middle men put in the way) is complete and total BS.

By the way...for the record...Roundtree was able to get off a fairly detailed, (if not poorly written) nasty letter to my bosses in coastal Florida less than three hours after the morning commentary (and subsequent Facebook post) that seemed to offend him so much.

Less than three hours to handle that fussy letter...more than 8 hours to release the details from that shooting scene.

He sent the fussy letter at 10:20AM...held the first press briefing (with few details) at 2pm...released more info around 5pm.

Gotta love his priorities.

rational thought trumps emotion
rational thought trumps emotion 02/03/13 - 02:16 pm
Media Policies

Having read the media policy on Austin’s Facebook page and having read the policy of Columbia County’s Sheriff Clay Whittle, there was little if any difference in the policies. Although I have not read the one from ACSO, they also have a PIO who is the primary go to for the media. I have not heard a single word of negativity towards either of these agencies and specifically that of CCSO that has a policy that mirrors RCSO leaving me to believe this is more personal instead of what is best for the community and agencies. And, stating the RCSO officers can’t talk to the media is completely false as I have personally seen at least 10 different deputies speaking to the news on various issues over this past month.

As for not releasing information, the RCSO unlike the CCSO turns over officer involved shootings to the GBI, as they should. They also did this under the Strength administration. When that is done, it is more than inappropriate for the RCSO to begin releasing information prior to the GBI’s initial findings. Nothing will change by rushing to put out information until all witnesses are properly questioned, etc. and any deputy who does so is placing their fellow deputies and the entire case in jeopardy or harm’s way. Most media understand and respect situations such as this and wait until official information is released as is done all across the country. If they believe they are being lied to, the by all means, go out and do further investigative reporting.

From all accounts thus far, this deputy did exactly as he was trained to do and because of the actions of the suspect was forced to do. Deadly force is met with deadly force and there appears to have been numerous opportunities to have surrendered to police without incident.

seenitB4 02/04/13 - 08:45 am
Thanks for this comment

Having read the media policy on Austin’s Facebook page and having read the policy of Columbia County’s Sheriff Clay Whittle, there was little if any difference in the policies

Some just "think" they can choose what others post the real world....they can'

Falconsgirl 02/04/13 - 10:29 am

In my opinion, are not needed. True, sometimes they work and the perp is apprehended, but then the perp gets to go to jail, where,more than likely he/she has been numerous times, didn't learn their lesson and gets to continue sucking in taxpayers' money to house them in said jail/prison. A bullet is FAR less expensive and teaches a lesson that said person will never forget.

But to the liberals who feel that the tasers are a better solution than what Richmond County S.O. currently has, lets see what sort of posts you will be back on here making when an officer gets a taser issued to him/her and uses it in a justifiable manner, but causes the perp to die due to previous heart conditions said perp had prior to being tased, or when the perp is high on cociane, meth or PCP and dies after being tased.

My Opinion Matters19991
My Opinion Matters19991 02/05/13 - 12:41 pm

I Know RoundTree is Going To Make A Big Difference in Augusta

homemedic 03/01/13 - 08:39 pm
Scared Officer

This is what happen when you have a scared Officer with a gun. Officer dont get the training they need to maintain their composuer and stay focus. Combat Traning would help Officers to do this.

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