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

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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 stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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LadyCisback
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LadyCisback 12/19/08 - 01:56 pm
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great!!!.. more fuel added to

great!!!.. more fuel added to the already out of control and tense situation surrounding the cherry tree apartments and this man that died due to his actions...

THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME
0
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THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME 12/19/08 - 02:02 pm
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Whether the vehicle was

Whether the vehicle was stolen or not is not what got him shot, he used it as a weapon and that was a mistake.

Riverman1
70396
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Riverman1 12/19/08 - 02:08 pm
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0

So now we are saying the

So now we are saying the camera did not catch anything? Why was it aimed away from what was going on?

wise ole man
79
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wise ole man 12/19/08 - 02:12 pm
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Riverman- it was not aimed

Riverman- it was not aimed away from what was going on. The car probably was not parked in a position to catch the action. I am sure the driver had no idea there would be a shoot-out.

me too
0
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me too 12/19/08 - 02:14 pm
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The residents of Cherry Tree

The residents of Cherry Tree already know who owns the vehicle, this isn't news to them. But it will be an excuse for them to continue to behave badly and "demonstrate" further. It's curious to me why they call their out of control, criminal behavior "demonstrating" when it's clear they are behaving in a mob mentality and rioting in the streets. None of their low rent antics is helping their community, it just adds credence to the opinion of them by those outside the community.

cparker
42
Points
cparker 12/19/08 - 02:15 pm
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I do not feel it is right to

I do not feel it is right to run over a policeman, but the story is changing an aweful lot... Sheriff Strength is now saying it was not about a stolen vehicle, but that is what the deputies said. They said they were responding to a tip concerning a stolen SUV. After the shooting they said they could see drugs and a gun in plain view and they would wait for a search warrant. Now the vehicle is not stolen and the camera has malfunctioned? I am getting a little uncomfortable if this story keeps changing.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 12/19/08 - 02:22 pm
0
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What in the hell are " Low

What in the hell are " Low rent antics"?

cparker
42
Points
cparker 12/19/08 - 02:36 pm
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me too.... You are truly

me too.... You are truly missing the point here. All week the story has been the police were tipped off about a stolen SUV, thats why they blocked the vehicle the way they did. I am never going to condone running over the police under any circumstances, but it is not right for Sheriff Strength to say this incident was not started over a stolen vehicle. BTW, I don't think your opinion of blacks in the projects are very fair either. Someone has been killed and I feel the entire community is owed some answers. Remember, it wasn't that long ago someone was killed on Deans Bridge Rd because two deputies were racing. It was not that long ago three deputies were fired for having racist comments on their Myspace pages. A deputy recently got fired for calling a black child without a car seat a monkey. So please don't make the RCSO a racial utopia. These people have acted badly, but there is some cause for concern until we all get the facts, right?

wise ole man
79
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wise ole man 12/19/08 - 02:38 pm
0
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1 of 3 cameras were

1 of 3 cameras were malfunctioning- a camera that was not even positioned to catch anything of importance. My question is this- IF he was innocent WHY did he try to run over 2 policemen? Why are we condemning the police for trying to uphold the law- what we pay them to do. In a way, we the tax payers are paying people like Elmo and company to be productive citizens. THat in itself is the crime- persons who mooch off the system, lead corrupt lives and think they can defy the law and then when they are forced to pay their dues, more low- life come out of the wood work damaging property that does not even belong to them- it belongs to the tax payers.

ITDoc
1
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ITDoc 12/19/08 - 02:47 pm
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Police pull over vehicles

Police pull over vehicles suspected as stolen every day. If you don't have drugs and the vehicle isn't stolen, you drive away.

allie123
0
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allie123 12/19/08 - 02:59 pm
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"The deputies were responding

"The deputies were responding to a tip about a man with drugs and weapons in an SUV when they boxed in Justin Leonard Elmore, 23, using their patrol cars, Sheriff Strength said."

This is a quote from the Augusta Chronicle on the story that ran Tuesday, December 16. It says nothing about the fact it was stolen. This is a direct quote from the sheriff. The only time I heard about the SUV being stolen was when Augusta Chronicle made their own statement.

allie123
0
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allie123 12/19/08 - 03:00 pm
0
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I'd like to add that law

I'd like to add that law enforcement DID see drugs and weapons in the vehicle, they simply could not access them because they had to have a warrant to search the vehicle.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 12/19/08 - 03:18 pm
0
0

Yeah the Chronicle stated

Yeah the Chronicle stated "Stolen SUV", Strength didn't., I like Strength he's a good sheriff. The Chronicle baited, had holes in their story and incited the online community. I'm glad I only read this paper online.

Lorraine
132
Points
Lorraine 12/19/08 - 03:24 pm
0
0

I believe that an outside

I believe that an outside investigation is warranted. I do not believe that an internal investigation will go far enough to gather the facts. A malfunctioning dash camera video tape? What's next?

Galan Lewis
0
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Galan Lewis 12/19/08 - 03:28 pm
0
0

I believe that the stolen suv

I believe that the stolen suv was first told on the Austin Rhodes radio show, not in the Chronicle

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 12/19/08 - 03:31 pm
0
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Whether or not the vehicle

Whether or not the vehicle was stolen was never really the issue. If Elmore didn't have anything to hide, he would have just stopped. Ownership of the vehicle could have been verified, and at best he would have been on his way in a few minutes. We are already experiencing the worst case scenario. Anything else that might have happened had Elmore complied with the police (whether or not he was arrested for actually having guns and drugs and/or for any outstanding warrants) would have only been relevant to him and those who knoow him, as this situation would not have happened.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 12/19/08 - 03:32 pm
0
0

Oh I don't listen to Austin,

Oh I don't listen to Austin, I read it in the chronicle Tuesday, I guess they will need to get the dispatch tape to see if the dispatcher said "stolen SUV" that should be part of their investigation. If the car was stolen then it's a benefactor to the drugs and weapon. If only he had done what they said.

mutt
2
Points
mutt 12/19/08 - 03:34 pm
0
0

It doesn't matter if the

It doesn't matter if the vehicle was stolen or not, and it really doesn't matter if there were drugs or weapons, or ammunition in the vehicle. It doesn't matter if the guy was black or white, rich, poor, thug or law abiding citizen. Question 1, were the cops responding to a report of a vehicle with drugs and weapons inside? Question 2, did Elmore's vehicle match the description of the suspect vehicle? If the answer is yes to those two questions, then they had every reason to stop his SUV as suspect and check it out! The final question that matters most is, did this Justin Elmore try to flee by ramming patrol cars while officers were near any of the vehicles including Elmore's? If the answer is yes to all three questions, then IMHO they had every reason and duty to shoot this man. Is he allowed to ram patrol cars and endanger officers and/or innocent bystanders just because he is black? NO! I call BS on that notion! He is dead because he was behaving like an idiot thug! I don't care if he was just coming in from church, if he willfully rammed those cars with anyone near his or those vehicles he was using deadly force and the officers were correct to use deadly force to stop him!

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 12/19/08 - 03:34 pm
0
0

Wait it was a "tip" I forgot

Wait it was a "tip" I forgot so scratch the Dispatch portion of my earlier post.

Galan Lewis
0
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Galan Lewis 12/19/08 - 03:37 pm
0
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Well said mutt. I totally

Well said mutt. I totally agree!!!!

mutt
2
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mutt 12/19/08 - 03:43 pm
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Really, only one thing

Really, only one thing matters, did he use his vehicle as an offensive weapon? If so, then he got what he deserved. He willfully used deadly force, and the officers did the same. What should they have done, run and hide? That's not what we pay them to do! It was their duty to stop him.

cajunnana2000
1
Points
cajunnana2000 12/19/08 - 03:45 pm
0
0

Now am I confused, I can only

Now am I confused, I can only go by what I read, but didn't someone from the police Dept state earlier that the video camera tape had been reviewed and would prove what happened. Now they are saying the camera malfunctioned, does not show details, was facing an apartment. Well how do they know this. Did someone malfunction it because of what it showed? I mean right is right and wrong is wrong but lets not start tampering with evidence.

politicallyNcorrect1
0
Points
politicallyNcorrect1 12/19/08 - 03:52 pm
0
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Riverman...the cameras view

Riverman...the cameras view is the same as the drivers view..straight in front of the car. There are digital videos from the other patrol cars. (this one was focused another direction) but there will be audio thats important also

alleycat
62
Points
alleycat 12/19/08 - 03:57 pm
0
0

If you run from the police

If you run from the police you probably have done something illegal already besides running from the police.
I do not think the deputies should have to risk their lives wondering what you may do to them. Its the law pull over if not the deputy has every right to assume you are dangerous .The law should be stop or be shot. Sure would make alot of them crooks think twice and if it doesn't they made their own choice when they continue to flee the police. Should be listed as suicide .

alleycat
62
Points
alleycat 12/19/08 - 03:59 pm
0
0

Oh wait suicide and attempted

Oh wait suicide and attempted murder for the drug dealer that ran and put everyone in his path in danger.

whynot2
5
Points
whynot2 12/19/08 - 04:04 pm
0
0

cajun, there was 1 camera

cajun, there was 1 camera that manfulctioned and it stated it was aimed at the apartments. It doesnt say if it will show anything but they want to review it anyway so the FBI has it to get off the tape what they can.

Lorraine
132
Points
Lorraine 12/19/08 - 04:05 pm
0
0

cajunnana2000 you have raised

cajunnana2000 you have raised some interesting points. There is a high probability that the facts will not be revealed. There are many questions in this case that will need to be asked and answered. Where is the evidence that the suspect rammed the police cars? If indeed the video depicts the suspect ramming the police cars, it can be speculated that the suspect used the car as a deadly weapon. On the other hand, if there is no video tape to prove that the suspect actually rammed the police cars or the video camera just so happened to malfunctioned during the ramming of the cars, then it becomes questionable if the suspect rammed the police cars.

mutt
2
Points
mutt 12/19/08 - 04:15 pm
0
0

The vehicles themselves will

The vehicles themselves will tell if Elmore rammed them with damage and paint transfer. The video and audio will only serve to corroborate or refute that evidence.

politicallyNcorrect1
0
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/19/08 - 04:16 pm
0
0

lorraine...you need to quit

lorraine...you need to quit watching tv & thinking that makes you a detective. No matter what you think a deputy is not going to open fire on someone just sitting in their car. They don't want to go to jail. And they don't go to work hoping to kill someone. years ago in apple valley the same thing happened..all the witness's said they just shot him. BUT THE VIDEO TOLD A DIFFERENT STORY. And it will this time also. But all the people like you when the video airs & shows Elmore trying to run & get away..will everyone apologize? NO everyone is real good at blaming with no evidence. IN FACT so called wittness's..all they do is LIE..they are not even smart enough to know the video will tell the truth & they still LIE. They need to file charges FELONY CHARGES for lieing. If they start jailing those that lie..NO IT WILL NOT HELP..PEOPLE WILL LIE EVEN WHEN YOU GOT THEM ON VIDEO..NO NOT ME I DID NOT IT..THE COP DID IT..I WAS FRAMED..ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH

ispeakadatruth
0
Points
ispeakadatruth 12/19/08 - 04:18 pm
0
0

it does not matter if was or

it does not matter if was or not. they received a tip it was and that he had dope and guns in it. they stopped him to investigate. he made the choices after that.

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