GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a deadly shooting involving Gwinnett County police.
Officers say they opened fire after a man with a knife charged at them inside a home on Avalon Meadows Court in Lawrenceville.
A family friend told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas that Joseph Roy, 72, had cancer, but didn't seem suicidal.
“I've known him for 15 years,” Myra Desta told Thomas.
Desta said at first he thought Roy had died of natural causes.
“He was going through chemotherapy every day and at times I would give him a ride,” Desta said.
But Gwinnett police said Thursday morning, a neighbor called 911 and said Roy was suicidal. When officers arrived they found Roy barricaded in a bathroom.
“The subject opened the door, and started yelling threats at the officers and then charged the officers with a knife,” said Sherry Lang, with the GBI.
Lang said when the two officers saw the6- to 8-inch steak knife they opened fire, hitting Roy with two shots.
“He always talked about he lived a full life and, you know, God gave him the break, and that's what it is and he'd have to deal with it,” Desta said.
Within minutes of the initial call Gwinnett police commanders, including Chief Butch Ayers, along with GBI agents, flooded the scene looking for evidence and interviewing neighbors who heard parts of the confrontation.
Desta described his friend as a firm but gracious person who'd seen many things in his life.
“I never once heard that he wanted to hurt himself,” Desta said.