WAYCROSS, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) released new information in the Waycross incident involving an officer involved shooting.
Waycross Police observed a car making a traffic violation around 8 a.m. Saturday and attempted to obtain the license plate information for the car, according to a news release from the GBI. There were five minors inside, ages 9, 12, 14, 15 and 16.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
According to a GBI press release, “the first officer followed the vehicle for several minutes attempting to obtain the license plate information following a traffic violation (failure to stop at a stop sign). The officer did not activate his siren or blue emergency lights.”
As the vehicle approached a corner, the vehicle stopped and three children (ages 9, 12, and 14) exited the vehicle. They ran off in the direction of their home. Although the officer followed the three children, he did not contact them because he heard gunfire and returned to the scene of the traffic stop to assist the second officer.
An officer began to approach the vehicle from the front, the vehicle drove towards him. The officer fired shots “multiple times.” The other two minors, ages 15 and 16, inside in the car, before the boys “exited the vehicle while it was still in drive,” the GBI release said.
“At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that the second officer that fired the shots at the vehicle driving towards him shot at or near the three children that ran home.” According to the updated GBI statement.
Juvenile criminal complaints were taken on the 15-year-old and 16-year-old driver. The 15-year-old was released to his parent. The 16-year-old was placed in the custody of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.
The 16-year-old driver was arrested for possession of a handgun by a person under 18, reckless driving, a stop sign violation, aggravated assault on a police officer, and driving without a driver’s license, a Waycross Police news release said.
There was an altercation between one of the officers and the 15-year-old male that had exited the vehicle. The 15-year-old was charged with possession of a handgun by a person under 18, obstruction of an officer (felony), and removal or attempt to remove firearm from an officer, according to the Waycross Police release.
The GBI reports that as of August 10, agents have only been allowed to interview one of the children that ran home. GBI says that they made several attempts to interview the other two, but have not been granted an interview.
CNN affiliate WJXT spoke with Dominique Goodman Sr., the father the children involved in the incident.
The five children in the car were coming back from Walmart when the officer began following them, Goodman told WJXT. The officer didn’t turn on his lights to pull them over until they reached their neighborhood, according to the three youngest children.READ MORE: President DeSantis? Many Feel The Florida Governor Is Poised For A 2024 Run
The older teens were scared and told the three youngest to jump out of the car and run home to get their father, the 12-year-old told WJXT. When they got out of the vehicle, the girl said the officers started shooting at them, the affiliate reported.
At least seven shots were fired by the officer, the 9-year-old boy told WJXT. “It went passed my face,” the boy told the affiliate. “I could have gotten shot in my face, but they shot the swing.”
“They shot at a car full of unarmed minors. A car full of unarmed children. Like who in the world can’t see that this is a 9-year-old? Who can’t see that this is a child? They look like children,” Goodman told WJXT. “They are babies. What was the purpose of the shooting?”
Goldman heard the gunfire and saw the children running toward the house screaming for help, WJXT reported.
“We go in the back, we open the door, we see my 9-year-old, my 12-year-old and 14-year-old running from the police behind them, gunshots coming behind them,” Goodman told the affiliate. “We go down the street and we see our 15-year-old and our 16-year-old on the ground.”
The children were coming home to pick up Goodman, he told the affiliate. They were all heading to a football tournament in Jacksonville that two of the children were scheduled to play in on Saturday, WJXT reported.
“This is a good neighborhood. All the neighbors are basically kin. To hear gunshots in this neighborhood and to see that it’s our kids being shot at, at everybody in the neighborhood knows our kids. They know they’re not bad kids,” Goodman told WJXT. “Our kids almost lose their lives to go to a football game? Man, that’s crazy. That’s crazy. Almost lost their lives going to a football game.”
No officers were injured during the incident.
The two police officers are on administrative leave.
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