Prosecutors say teen should have been in jail when he killed officer

For weeks we've investigated the troubled past of a teenage cop killer, and Channel 2's Tony Thomas??got access to documents that show the fight to keep him off the street before the murder.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Could a single decision have saved an officer's life?

For weeks we've investigated the troubled past of a teenage cop killer, and Channel 2's Tony Thomas got access to documents that show the fight to keep him off the street before the murder.

What Thomas found confirms what he's been told by sources for the last three weeks: two years before Officer Antwan Toney was killed, prosecutors tried to get Tafahree Maynard sent to juvenile jail but the court instead sent him home.

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"My brother is a very big teddy bear and he is a sweetheart," said Maynard's sister, Alexis Moore.

Moore paints the accused cop killer as a good person, but court records show another side of the now-deceased 19-year-old in the years leading up to his shootout with Gwinnett police.

"He was pretty clearly headed in a bad direction," said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.

Police said Maynard shot and killed Toney on Oct. 20.

Toney, 30, was shot while responding to a suspicious vehicle parked near Shiloh Middle School in unincorporated Snellville. The car was parked at Crumps Landing Road and White Road.

Gwinnett County police Sgt. Jake Smith said in a news conference that someone reported the vehicle and that the people inside may have been smoking marijuana.

Toney and another officer approached the vehicle, which turned out to be stolen. and that's when someone started shooting from inside the car.

"Before they could even get to the vehicle, shots rang out," Smith said.

Police returned fire as an officer dragged Toney away.

Toney was rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition, but he died there, officials said.

The two-year veteran was just days from celebrating his third anniversary with the department on Oct. 26.

After a manhunt, Maynard was found hiding in a wooden shed wielding a lawn mower blade and was shot and killed after he refused to obey police commands, authorities said.

"I'm very devastated for my brother's loss," his sister said.

Isaiah Pretlow was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault in connection with Toney's death.

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The juvenile court records Thomas looked at revealed Maynard's main trouble began in July of 2016 when Gwinnett County School Police said he led several videotaped gang beat-ins or initiations at Shiloh High School. Police said Maynard admitted to being the leader of a gang. Authorities said the crew was committing crimes around the area.

"He clearly was showing signs that he needed a stronger intervention than maybe the local court and the local probation are capable of doing," Porter said.

Porter's office argued Maynard was "in need of supervision, treatment and rehabilitation." Prosecutors made a second request again in March 2017 and asked Maynard be labeled a designated felon.

He could have been held for up to five years. Records show juvenile court judge Robert Waller placed Maynard on two years probation. One year later, the probation ended after the court found Maynard had, "made satisfactory adjustment while on probation."

"He was basically turned back in to the environment that created him," Porter said.

Thomas asked Waller for comment. He considered an interview and then declined, citing rules against commenting on specific cases.