Man with BB gun shot by officer while trying to take pictures near school, attorney says

The shooting happened outside Forrest Hill Academy in southwest Atlanta

ATLANTA — A mother says her son was not trying to hurt anyone when he was shot near a school campus in southwest Atlanta.

Police said D’Tavius L’quon Patterson, 20, was trying to get into Forrest Hill Academy last week, but did not get in.

Officers arrived as Patterson was leaving and said they saw that he had a weapon. The GBI said the weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

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Investigators said they do not know if Patterson pulled the weapon, but they said he did not fire any shots.

Authorities said an Atlanta Public Schools officer did fire a shot. Patterson was taken to the hospital, where his mother says he still is recovering.

"I believe police overreacted that day," attorney Will Arnold said.

Patterson's mother and attorney Arnold paint a different picture of what happened that day.


"My client is adamant that while he was on the way to the store, a police car swerved in front of him, an officer exited the car and while my client was attempting to get down on the ground, he did not have a weapon in his hand, and he was shot," Arnold said.

The GBI is investigating the shooting and spokeswoman Nelly Miles said they want to get both sides of the story.

Arnold said his client had a BB gun, but did not have it in his hand when was shot.

"We know he wasn't pointing it at anyone," he said.

Patterson’s attorney said his client graduated from Forrest Hill Academy and was home from college at the time of the shooting.

"He graduated from that school. As a matter of fact, he's one of the school's most proud products," Arnold said.

The family believes Patterson meant to pose with the BB gun on the basketball court where he often plays, possibly as part of a social media prank.

"Did he refuse any commands?" Channel 2's Mark Winne asked Arnold.

"We don't know. We don't have the footage. That's the problem," he said.

"We do have some surveillance video. The Atlanta Public School Police Department, they don't have body cam or dash cam video," Miles said.

Miles said GBI investigators can coordinate through the lawyers to show surveillance video to Arnold and the family. She said the investigation is still in the early stages.

She said the investigation should take about 90 days.

Winne has filed an open records request to get APS' side of the story.

Arnold said Patterson is charged with having a weapon on school property.