Officers told man to drop airsoft gun before deadly police shooting

His family tells us he had problems but they never expected this to happen.

ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. — We're getting a look at body camera video leading up to a deadly police shooting. Seven officers shot at the man.

We first brought you this story Saturday.

Police said they initially encountered 34-year-old Thomas Wayne Swinford, who was believed to be armed with a gun. Officers said they asked him to drop the gun but said he ignored their commands.

Content Continues Below

Police said moments later, Swinford charged toward officers, pointing the gun in their direction.

"They are exercising remarkable restraint in that they are not firing now," said Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.

He says his officers were forced to fire when Swinford pointed his weapon at police.

"Multiple officers that were on scene at this point feared for their lives and in response they discharged their weapons at Mr. Swinford," Spruill said.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene.

Police said this all started with a domestic dispute. Police discovered Swinford was a convicted felon who wasn't supposed to have a gun and eventually tracked him to West Lake Drive, where the standoff started.

"His struggle came to an end. His pain came to an end, and we just want everyone to know he is not the person that they're seeing," his family told Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman.

Swinford's family says he should be remembered as a man who loved his family.

They say they're not ready to talk about what happened Friday but say it's not what should define his legacy.

"We just want everyone to know what a loving, kind person he was and to remember him that way. Not the way he left us," a family member told us.