Originally created 12/16/03

Firing on teen has GBI on case



Sheriff's officials defended the weekend shooting of an Augusta teenager, but a neighbor of the 16-year-old boy says deputies used excessive force.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining what led deputies Timothy Herring and Matthew Perkins to fire at Christopher Todd Mills in the 2300 block of Overlook Road. The teen was struck in the shoulder and side. His condition improved from critical to serious Monday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

According to sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry, the officers were sent to a family dispute near the boy's home at 11:25 a.m. Sunday. They arrived to find the teen coming at them with a steak knife, the major said.

"Subsequently, one of the officers fired a couple of shots, injuring the subject," Maj. Autry said. "The officers were well within their right to use deadly force against the subject. They were protecting themselves."

Maj. Autry said he could not say which officer shot the teen or whether any criminal charges were expected against the youth. He referred further questions to the GBI.

GBI Agent Mike Seigler said agents are investigating and will forward their findings to the district attorney's office.

Yvette Sims, a neighbor who witnessed the shooting, said she saw the teen walking down the street in bare feet and carrying something in his hand. His grandfather was trying to stop him when deputies arrived, she said.

"He didn't look threatening. I don't think he (the officer) should have shot him anyway," she said.

Ms. Sims said the teen's grandfather yelled at the officers not to shoot.

"A lot of people said he shouldn't have shot him. I don't see where he was a threat to police at all," she said.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.