Investigators said three officers started questioning a group of men outside an apartment building after they noticed they were smoking marijuana.
BUFORD, Ga. —
Investigators are working to sort out the chaos that led three officers to open fire on a 20-year-old man, killing him.
Channel 2’s Darryn Moore spoke to police and witnesses and got two different stories.
Police said the officers who fired the shots said the man pointed a gun at them and their lives were in danger when they shot the man on North Alexander Street in Buford Tuesday night. Witnesses, however, said the man never pointed his gun at officers.
Family members identified the person killed by Gwinnett County police officers as Antonio Hernandez.
“My cousin, along with Antonio and other guys were smoking marijuana and somebody called the police and the police came and searched them,” Markeda Butler said.
Police said when they began to search Hernandez, he pulled a gun and pointed it to his own head.
“The police kept telling him to put the gun down, and he was like, ‘I want to die,’” Butler said.
According to Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department, officers shocked Hernandez with a Taser. After that point, police and witness accounts of what happened differ.
“The suspect actually pulled out the probes and pointed his handgun at the officers and three of the officers shot at the suspect and he was struck and killed,” Smith said.
“I was right there. They tased him and he pulled out the prongs and he was about to put the gun down, but they shot about 12-13 times,” Hernandez’s friend Rickey Garrett said.
Hernandez’ sister said her brother suffered from seizures and had brain surgery, but he was not a troublemaker.
“He’s never gotten into trouble with police,”
No one else was injured in the shooting.
All three officers involved have been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.