Home News Man killed after firing at officers at gas station in Georgia

Man killed after firing at officers at gas station in Georgia

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Rosana Hughes

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb County police shot and killed a man they say was firing at officers at a Redan gas station Monday night, officials said.

According to the GBI, officers were responding to a reported homicide that had just happened in the area of Cedar Croft Court around 8:30 p.m. DeKalb police have not confirmed any details related to the killing.

As officers searched for those they believed were involved, they found a man with a rifle less than a mile away at a Shell station on Covington Highway at Wellborn Road, the GBI said. The man, identified as 23-year-old Lerelle Chatman of Lithonia, began shooting at officers, damaging several patrol vehicles and a civilian’s vehicle, GBI officials said. Several officers returned fire, striking Chatman. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

One officer sustained minor injuries, though it was not clear how the injury happened.

A witness, Terri Maultsby, told Channel 2 Action News that she was at the gas station with her daughter when they heard what they initially thought were fireworks around 8:45 p.m. They quickly realized it was about a dozen gunshots and called 911 immediately, she said.

Crime scene tape was quickly strung up around the parking lot, and parts of the lot remained cordoned off Tuesday morning, news footage showed.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. Once completed, it will turn over its findings to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Monday’s incident is the third officer-involved shooting the GBI has been tasked with investigating within 34 hours and the 106th this year.

Just hours before, the GBI was called to Clayton County, where they said an officer fatally shot a 19-year-old as he tried to drive away in an alleged stolen vehicle around 11:40 a.m.

The teen, Eric Holmes, had approached an officer who was investigating a report of a stolen car in a warehouse parking lot on Jonesboro Road just south of Morrow, according to the GBI. He initiated a conversation with the officer, stopped abruptly, got in the car and tried to drive away. The officer ordered Holmes to stop, and when he didn’t, opened fire, the GBI said.

Holmes got away but was injured and crashed a short distance away. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Just over 24 hours earlier, around 10 a.m. Sunday, Paulding County sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire with a man they said first fired at them during a traffic stop. Billy Wayne Denton, 36, was eventually apprehended after a short pursuit and a second exchange of gunfire. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

©2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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