District Attorney Determines Carroll County Deputy Was Justified In Use Of Deadly Force In December 2019 Shooting

On December 21, 2019, at approximately 10:20 p.m., the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (“GBI”) was called to Carroll County to investigate the use of lethal force by a Carroll County Sheriff’s Office (“CCSO”) deputy at 1871 N Hwy 27, Carrollton, Georgia, which resulted in the death of Marc Thompson. The GBI contacted District Attorney Cranford on the morning of Sunday, December 22, 2019 to report the incident and he requested that the completed investigation be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

written by Office Of DA Cranford:

On April 20, 2020, the District Attorney’s Office received the investigatory file from the GBI. The District Attorney reviewed the evidence to determine whether the deputy who shot Thompson was justified in his use of deadly force against Thompson. The investigatory file contained recorded interviews, reports, 911 and dispatch audio, crime lab results, crime scene analysis including pictures and diagrams, the autopsy report, toxicology reports, video from patrol cars, body-worn camera videos, and security video footage. The evidence revealed the following:

In December of 2019, the deceased, Marc Thompson was living in his mother’s home in Carroll County. In the afternoon of December 21, 2019, Thompson informed his mother that he had smoked methamphetamine. Later that evening, Thompson threatened her with a butcher’s knife and held a gun to her head, his brother’s head, and to his own head. Family members called 911 and informed them that Thompson was in the house and had multiple guns at his disposal. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office responded and engaged in a standoff for over four hours.

Upon entering the residence, deputies found that Thompson had fled the scene. Warrants were then taken out against Thompson for aggravated assault.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m., a deputy left the scene and stopped to refuel his vehicle at the Circle K at 1871 N Hwy 27 in Carrollton. While at the gas station, the deputy observed a shirtless, white male carrying a shovel enter the gas station. Due to the standoff earlier that day, the deputy recognized the male to be Thompson. The deputy knew that Thompson was possibly under the influence of methamphetamine, had committed multiple aggravated assaults against his family members earlier that evening, was possibly armed with a firearm, and was in fact armed with a shovel. He then called another deputy, who had remained at the scene of the crime, and informed that deputy of Thompson’s location. While placing this phone call, the deputy witnessed Thompson strike at something behind the counter with the shovel. In the security video footage, Thompson can be seen striking a computer on the counter and lunging at the clerk holding the shovel in an offensive position. Fearing for the safety of the clerk, the deputy retrieved his service weapon and entered the gas station.

On the security video footage and in the 911 call audio, the deputy can be seen showing his badge, can be heard identifying himself as law enforcement, addressing Thompson by his first name, and telling Thompson to get on the ground. Thompson can be seen continuing to hold the shovel in an aggressive manner and can be heard demanding the presence of uniformed officers and telling the deputy to “call [his] . . . friends.” Despite the deputy’s repeated efforts to get Thompson to drop his weapon and get on the ground, Thompson ultimately charged the counter and struck the deputy over the head with the shovel.

In response to being hit in the head by Thompson with the shovel, the deputy fired his weapon at Thompson, striking him multiple times. The deputy can then be heard instructing the clerk to call for an ambulance. The deputy was later taken to a hospital for his injuries and received six staples to the wound on his head. Following an autopsy, the medical examiner determined that Thompson died from the gunshot wounds.

Following a thorough review of the facts of this case and the relevant law, I find that the deputy who shot Marc Thompson on December 21, 2019, was reasonable in finding it necessary to use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself and others. At the time of the shooting, the deputy knew Thompson had threatened and assaulted his family with a knife and a gun earlier that night, the deputy knew that Thompson was likely high on methamphetamine, and the deputy knew Thompson potentially possessed a firearm. In addition, the deputy personally witnessed Thompson’s actual possession and violent use of a shovel, which is an object that when used offensively against another is likely to result in serious bodily injury, and the deputy witnessed Thompson’s violent actions in the store in the presence of the store clerk that prompted the store clerk to call 911. Finally, Thompson failed to follow the commands of the deputy who identified himself as a law enforcement officer and did, in fact, strike at and injure the deputy with the shovel.

Therefore, I have concluded that this deputy did not violate the laws of the State of Georgia and I will not be presenting this case to the Civil or Criminal Grand Jury. Consequently, my office’s involvement in this matter is closed.