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Chief Spruill on Swinford Shooting


Athens Police Chief Cleveland Spruill held a media conference Sunday afternoon in the wake ACCPD officers shooting suspect Thomas Swnford to death Friday evening.

Spruill said officers were called to the scene on West Lake Drive to investigate a report of Swinford stealing a car and other items from a family member. Spruill says at the time of the first response to the home they saw Swindle with what appeared to be a gun, but they were not aware he was a convicted felon at the time.

"Mr. Swinford still had the gun in his possession, he didn’t comply with the directions of the officers and in fact, he got into a car and he fled the scene,” according to Chief Spruill.

Spruill says during the second encounters, officers engaged in a tense, 20-minute standoff with Swinford.

“Mr. Swinford did not drop the firearm, in fact at one point, came from around the vehicle, walked very quickly toward the officers, raised his arm toward the officers and raised his arm toward the officers and pointed his gun toward the officers.  Multiple officers that were on the scene at this point feared for their lives, and in response they discharged their weapons at Mr. Swinford

The weapon was later determined to be an Airsoft, replica-style BB gun. The chief says due to the realistic appearance of the gun; the officers’ actions were justified.

The seven officers involved were placed on administrative leave. The GBI is investigating the shooting.

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