Richmond County Sheriff's Office has identified GRU officer in shooting

 

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has identified Wesley William Martin, 30, as the Georgia Regents University police officer who shot at a 19-year-old while responding to a noise complaint at a school housing complex Saturday morning.

According to a sheriff’s incident report, Officers Cynthia Perkins and Robert Donohue responded to University Village Apartments for the noise complaint just before 1 a.m. and found the disturbance in Room 2307.

In the apartment, police found Donte Lavelle Stewart, of Hephzibah, who gave police a false name and then ran from the building to his 1998 Ford Taurus.

Martin, who had already parked his patrol vehicle to block the apartment’s exit, told sheriff’s officials he positioned himself in front of the suspect’s speeding vehicle in an attempt to get it to stop. According to the report, Martin said Stewart slowed his vehicle, observed him to be law enforcement and then accelerated.

Martin, who said he was unable to retreat because of the position of his police cruiser, fired several times at the vehicle, which crashed into a tree. The suspect, who was hit in the hand and mouth with what the report described as “projectiles,” left the vehicle and ran through the woods to Tindon Street and Damascus Road, where he was captured by police.

Stewart faces charges of aggravated assault on an officer.

The sheriff’s office was called in to assist with the shooting investigation because it involved a GRU officer. GRU officials said Martin has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Martin’s actions have come under scrutiny in the past.

During a March 2012 traffic stop he used a stun gun on the driver, who then rolled up his window, Martin testified, trapping the policeman’s hand and causing him to shock himself.

The driver, Fredrick Gibbons, told a jury in July 2013 that he had immediately called Richmond County dispatchers when he saw Martin, with whom he had an altercation 18 months earlier, approaching his vehicle during the traffic stop. Gibbons said Martin told him to hang up the phone and open the door before he stunned him through the open window.

In July 2013, Gibbons was acquitted of obstruction charges after rejecting an offer on a lesser charge.

According to testimony at his trial, Gibbons was shocked at least five times during the traffic stop, and his attorney, Victor Hawk, told the jury that Martin had used his stun gun at least 24 times in his 2 1/2 years as a GRU policeman.

 

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