GBI probes if officer was justified in shooting driver

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate whether an off-duty officer was justified in firing at a driver while downtown Saturday night.

The officer, a field supervisor who was in uniform and wearing a safety vest, was directing traffic at an intersection on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard near the Georgia Dome.

In a primary report, the GBI said the driver ignored the officer's traffic commands and continued driving in his direction.

"The officer pulled his city-issued weapon, fired one shot into the vehicle, striking the driver," Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said.

The driver, identified as Noel Hall, 46, of Morganton, North Carolina, was visiting Atlanta to attend a motocross competition at the Georgia Dome.

He was treated and released from the hospital. Police say they have not determined whether he will be charged.

They also would not speculate on whether the police officer felt he was in danger.

"We are not at the point where we're going to say the officer was threatened or not threatened. We are going to let the facts of the case reveal themselves, and the GBI is capable of doing that and in time, we will all have those answers," Pickard told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.

This is the latest officer-related shooting in Atlanta.


Last month, a detective fatally shot a man in the parking lot of the police annex. Police said the man, who was acting suspiciously, drove off with the detective inside his car.

In June, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed motorist leaving an apartment complex. Investigator concluded the man posed no threat to the officer who has been charged with murder.

Police said each case of officer-involved use-of-force must be viewed independently and with full transparency.

"We just want to make sure we do it right, by doing a good investigation and providing the public the facts they need," Pickard told Regan.

The officer who shot the driver has not been identified. He is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the GBI investigation.