COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A local police officer shot and killed a man in Cobb County Tuesday.
Police said they feared for their lives which led them to open fire on a suspect they were attempting to serve a warrant on.
“When you go to serve a suspect who knows that he is wanted, he is unpredictable and we have to react based on his actions. That's what we did today,” Sgt. Ed Cason with the Smyrna Police Department said.
Investigators said Cobb County and Smyrna police went to Goodyear Tire to serve an arrest warrant for a probation violation. It happened in a parking lot near Cumberland Parkway and Paces Ferry Road at about 1:30 p.m.
They said the man saw police when they approached his place of work and tried to flee.
Police said officers feared for their life when the suspect jumped in a car, tried to get away, and drove at them in the white Maserati.
They have not yet identified the man who died.
The parents of Nicholas Thomas, 23, said their son was the man killed.
Thomas’ parents were both at the scene Tuesday afternoon and told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that police had shot and killed their son.
"He was a lovable guy,” mother Felicia Thomas said. “He was just a lovable guy. He would do anything for everybody. He was just loved cars. He loved his family. He just had a baby. His baby is not even 5 months old."
Nicolas Thomas' father, Huey Thomas, told Diamant at the scene, "I guess now, I just want to understand what happened, because I hear so often and here it is now. I'm a professional, my wife is a professional and we have a kid that's dead."
It happened across the driveway from a busy Starbucks where witnesses inside took cover as it all unfolded.
“They were standing behind the car, opening fire. He wasn't driving towards them,” Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache said.
Eustache told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman what happened. She said she watched from inside the store, just feet away.
“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him. The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn't go any further,” she said.
“So at no point was he making any aggressive moves?” Stockman asked her.
“None, none at all. They immediately opened fire on them,” Eustache said.
No police officers were injured. A spokesperson for the Smyrna Police Department said the shooting has already taken an emotional toll on the officers involved.
Thomas’ parents said he was working at the store to pay off fines associated with what they called a traffic warrant.
Police have yet to confirm that. Investigators said they are still trying to figure out how many of the six officers who were at the scene actually opened fire.
We’re continuing to gather information on this story. Stay with WSBTV.com and watch Channel 2 Action News for the latest information.
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