Dramatic bodycam video shows shooting that critically injured homeless man

The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting was necessary and justified, but the family calls it inexcusable.

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — Body camera video obtained by Channel 2 Action News shows the moments leading up to a shooting involving a deputy that left a homeless man in critical condition.

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

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

Content Continues Below

The video we obtained shows deputies chasing after Bolton and performing a PIT maneuver that spins his car around. As deputies got out of their cars, Bolton’s car was still in drive with tires spinning. Seconds later, Deputy John Collins fired a shot through Bolton’s windshield, hitting him in the head.


Deputies helped treat Bolton's gunshot wound before firefighters arrived to assist.

Officials say Collins saw “what he believed to be Bolton actively trying to drive his vehicle in the direction of a deputy,” but Bolton’s family and attorney disagree.

“Clearly Nicholas was boxed in with no place to go. Rather than take him into custody, shooting to kill was apparently easier, with the limp excuse that he was trying to hurt them,” attorney Tanya Miller said. “The police video speaks for itself.”

Miller called the incident "an inexcusable and unjustified tragedy."

The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting was necessary and justified. Collins, who has been with the department for 16 months, is on leave as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigates.