Family of man killed after pointing gun at Smyrna police officers speaks out

SMYRNA, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that a man shot by Smyrna police officer on Saturday has died.

Smyrna police say they responded to the Edison at the Battery apartments on N. Lincoln Trace Ave. just before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday to calls of a man with a gun threatening suicide inside an apartment.

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When officers arrived, they tried to deescalate the situation. There were several people inside the apartment at the time.

The GBI says that after several minutes, the man, later identified as Unsfored Lewis Thurmond III, 27, pointed the gun he was holding at officers.

At that point, an unidentified Smyrna police officer fired at Thurmond and hit him.

Thurmond was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery, but later died from his injuries.

“In a nanosecond, he changed the dynamics of the situation, pointing the weapon at us, putting our life in danger,” said Lieutenant Louis Defense with the Smyrna Police Department.

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Family members of Thurmond say he wasn’t suicidal. They describe the 27-year-old as a hard-working father of two.

“He was very bright, if you were sad or down he would know how to lift you up,” Unsfored Thurmond Jr. told Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln. “That was my baby boy; I named him after my daddy.”

“He was our brother, he was our comedian, he was the person that kept us all laughing,” said his sister, Syria Lowe.

Lowe said Unsfored Thurmond III lived at the apartment complex with his girlfriend. She says that police told her his girlfriend and his two daughters were inside the apartment during the incident.

“It’s hard because you can’t explain to a 5-year-old that she’s not going to see her daddy,” she said.

Lowe says that the family does not blame Smyrna police, but they want to know what they were told that led to her brother being shot.

“Whoever gave that 911 call is what lead up to my brother being murdered,” she told Lincoln. “We don’t want him to be put out there like that, like he was suicidal, because he definitely was not.”

She said her brother was ecstatic just days ago after receiving a copy of his GED.

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No officers were injured.

Smyrna police say this was their first officer-involved shooting of 2021. This is the 71st officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated in 2021.

Channel 2 Action News has requested body camera footage from the incident, but police say it may be a while before that is released as the GBI conducts their investigation.