Georgia cops responding to a call of a woman in distress ended up responding to the wrong home, shooting and killing a 63-year-old man who had stepped into his garage with a gun to investigate what he thought were intruders.
Henry County police claim Sergeant Patrick Snook killed William David Powell because he ignored commands to drop his gun.
But it does not appear that Powell even knew they were cops. And Powell’s wife, who was standing behind her husband, said she never heard them identify themselves as cops nor did she ever see blue lights that would indicate they were police.
Powell, an Air Force veteran and father of three, never fired once.
The officers “gave verbal commands for Powell to drop his handgun which he did not comply with,” GBI agent Scott Dutton said in a statement.
But his wife, who was standing outside in the garage area, near her husband, never heard the officers say a word, (family attorney) Martin said.
“First thing she heard was two shots, her husband fell, she ran back into the house, locked the door and called 911,” he said. “She saw her husband fall, and was terrified.”
Powell had just left the house, opened the garage door and walked just outside the garage when he was shot, Martin said.
Though the garage was lighted, there are no exterior lights outside the garage, the lawyer said. She saw only one person outside in the darkness, and “she was not able to see anyone in uniform,” Martin said.
The incident took place Wednesday at 1:30 a.m. when Powell and his wife were awakened by dogs barking. They then looked out the window and saw a man in their yard.
Powell grabbed his gun and stepped into the garage, followed by his wife. He then raised the garage door and was shot in the neck within seconds.
His wife then stepped back inside and called 911, which was when she learned they were cops.
Neither that 911 call or the 911 call that police were responding to have been released, but police say the original call was reportedly about a woman screaming and possible shots fired.
Powell remained on life support until Thursday which was when he died.
Sergeant Snook, who was hired in 1999 by the police department, then resigned in 2004 over a “public reprimand for an undisclosed sanction, was rehired a year later, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Last year, Georgia cops from the Dekalb County Police Department, entered a man’s home without a warrant, then shot the homeowner’s dog as well as a fellow cop – before realizing they had entered the wrong home.
In 2006, Atlanta cops raided the home of a 92-year-old woman based on falsified documents that drugs were present in the home. Kathryn Johnston fired at the officers with an old pistol and was shot and killed in return. Three cops ended up in prison for the incident and the ensuing coverup.