• Mother: Police went overboard when shooting son

    By: Tom Jones


    ATLANTA - A mother whose son was shot and killed by police said officers went overboard when they opened fire.

    Atlanta police said the man had a gun and refused to put it down.

    Ernest Zaus Barnett, 30, was shot in May 31 in a parking lot at Crescent Avenue near the Sutra Lounge by two off-duty officers. He died 21 days later from his injuries.

    His mother, Delzora Wall, said he was shot more than a dozen times, which bothers her.

    "When you shot that gun one, two times and he was already going down. That you stop. Why did you have to keep shooting?" she said to Channel 2's Tom Jones. "It doesn't take all that."

    Wall admitted her son had a gun that night. She said he was defending himself after getting into a fight with another group. She said the gun was never fired and never came out of its holster.

    Police said the two off-duty officers arrived to break up the fight. They said officers asked Barnett to put down his weapon.

    Officers said Barnett turned and faced the officers with the gun, refused repeated commands, and that's when they opened fire.

    Wall's nephew said Barnett was in the process of putting the gun down.

    "Yes, he had the gun in his hand. But his hands were up and he leaning like this," Barnett's mother said.

     Jones pointed out to Wall that police are trained to shoot until the threat is over.

    "You shoot until the threat. But you don't have to continue," Wall said.

    It was pointed out to Wall that her son would still be alive if he hadn't retrieved the gun. But Wall sees it differently.

    "He may not have (retrieved the gun) and that group of guys could have come back and killed all of them," she pointed out.

    Wall said her son was defending himself that night. Police said they usually don't comment on officer-involved shootings still under investigation.

    Next Up: