A Savannah, Ga. man who was handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a patrol car was shot and killed by a police officer moments after brandishing a firearm in a patrol car, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Charles Smith had reportedly just been snatched up off the street on outstanding warrants Thursday morning. Officers told the GBI that Smith was handcuffed behind his back before police say he kicked out one of the car’s windows and managed to move his hands to his front.
At that moment police say they saw Smith armed while attempting his escape, reports WTOC when the officer fired.
Officer David Jannot, who’s described as a 10-year veteran of the force, opened fire, killing Smith at the scene with a shot in the head and body.
Police said a firearm was recovered beneath his body. Witnesses at the scene dispute the official version and the killing has sparked rallies and demonstrations in front of the downtown police percent while uniformed officers watch.
“This information is based on the GBI’s preliminary investigation,” the agency said in a release. “The GBI will continue to thoroughly investigate this incident to determine exactly what occurred.”
An autopsy for Smith is scheduled Friday at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah.
Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson, who appeared at the scene to address the growing crowds, worked to assure them that a thorough investigation will take place.
“This will be cleared up, this will be cleared up,” she said. “We don’t need anything to happen and we are going to keep the family and the community informed about everything that is going on.”
Jannot is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.