'He's fighting for his life': Family says homeless man still critical days after deputy shot him

'He's fighting for his life': Family says homeless man still critical days after deputy shot him

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — It's been more than a week since a Coweta County deputy shot a homeless man inside a Newnan shopping center.

For the first time, we're hearing from the man's family.

Content Continues Below

“Every day, he is fighting for his life,” Irwin Bolton Jr. said. "The bullet, as we said, went right under his right eye. We do not know if he will have a full recovery."

Bolton Jr. said his brother, Nicholas Bolton, is still not breathing on his own at Atlanta Medical Center. Coweta County Sheriff's Deputy John Collins shot Bolton following a short chase June 30.

Officers said Bolton, 34, was asleep in his car when deputies approached him in the Newnan Crossing shopping center around 2:30 a.m.

Officers said they asked Bolton to get out and show his license, but they said Bolton refused and, instead, jumped into the driver’s seat and took off, barely missing one of the deputies as he drove away.


Body camera video Channel 2 Action News obtained shows deputies chasing after Bolton and performing a PIT maneuver that causes his car to spin around. Deputies said as they got out of their cars, Bolton's car was still in drive with tires spinning. Seconds later, Collins fired a shot through Bolton's windshield, hitting him in the head.

"I really thought it was going to end once he was boxed in. That was my initial thought, and as my dad has stated before, we believed in the system and for this to take place, it blew my mind," Irwin Bolton Jr. said.

The Sheriff's Office said the shooting was necessary and justified, but the Bolton family's attorney says otherwise.

"That officer had no reason in that moment to fire a kill shot into that windshield into a car that was immobile," attorney Tanya Miller said. "The car was not moving. It had come to a rest. In fact, it could not move. Nicholas did not ram three police officers. He was rammed."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. Collins is on leave.

Bolton's family believes the officer should be terminated and charged criminally.