Father claims police beat son to death during home burglary

by: Tom Jones Updated:

Police said on Aug. 23, Soto and Jerome Jeffy had broken into a home on Georgetown Court and were stealing televisions, a laptop and jewelry from the home.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - The father of a burglary suspect who died in police custody thinks officers beat his son to death.

Gabriel Soto, 30, died after Clayton County police said he resisted arrest and hurt two officers.

A police spokesman told Channel 2's Tom Jones they would not comment on the case, saying the GBI is investigating.

Police said on Aug. 23, Soto and Jerome Jeffy had broken into a home on Georgetown Court and were stealing televisions, a laptop and jewelry from the home.

Officers said they arrived and found Jeffy hiding in a closet. They said Soto struggled with them and had to be subdued.

The GBI said officers stunned Soto with a Taser. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Juan Soto believes officers beat his son to death. He said if his son was burglarizing the home, the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

"I don't think a couple of TVs, a laptop or whatever is worth his life," Juan Soto said.

Soto is frustrated police haven't given him any answers about what happened that day.

"Let us know what happened. Tell us what happened. What went wrong? Something went wrong," Soto said.

Soto did say an officer told him his son had drugs in his system, went into cardiac arrest and died. He doesn't believe that's possible.

"He was very healthy. I don't see why his heart would just stop," Soto said.

Soto also said neighbors told him the home that was burglarized belongs to a police officer. He thinks that's why officers arrived so fast and why they exacted the revenge he believes they did on his son.

A police spokesman would not respond to those allegations, saying the GBI is investigating the incident.

A GBI spokesman told Jones his agency just got the case on Monday so it may be awhile before that investigation is complete.

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