ATLANTA - An Atlanta restaurant security guard accused of shooting a man told a judge Friday that he feared for his life.
Dexter Washington was working as a security guard for Mary Mac's Tea Room on the night of the incident last April when he discharged his gun several times into a man's car.
"I felt like my life was in danger, like he was going to hit me," Washington told the judge.
Security video shows Washington trying to stop a car after a man drove the wrong way into the parking lot.
"Because that parking lot is a one way in, one way out, everyone can't come in the same way because traffic is coming in the same direction," Washington said.
Washington said he tried to stop the car, but the driver fled.
“When he got into the car, he accelerated... there was no stopping. I didn't think he was going to come as fast as he did. I was waving him off to stop, but he didn't," Washington said.
Surveillance video shows Washington later pulling out his gun and firing four shots at the car.
He testified that he believed he had arrest powers, but conceded that he was no pro when it came to handling weapons or making arrests.
“Why did you fire your weapon?” Washington’s defense attorney asked him.
“I thought my life was in danger," Washington said.
“(I was) eating dinner (when I) heard the first gunshot. (I) saw the security officer moving up the street quickly, (and he) fired three more rounds up the street,” said Paul Trahan, who witnessed the shooting.
Trahan testified that he didn't think Washington was justified.
“The portion I witnessed, the victim was not a danger to the security guard,” Trahan said.
Washington asked the judge to grant him immunity and acknowledge that he had a right to try to arrest the victim, but she denied that motion, saying that's an issue for a jury.
The victim survived the attack. He was in court Friday, but didn't testify.