This has to be one of the strangest officer-involved-shooting-but-not-really stories I’ve ever encountered.
Police say a man was fatally shot during a foot chase in Savannah — but not by the officer pursuing him.
Savannah-Chatham County police said the shooting happened at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday after an officer stopped a pedestrian on the city’s suburban south side. The pedestrian fled and the officer chased him on foot.
Police say in a news release that “during the foot chase the officer reported hearing a shot and observing the individual fall. The officer did not discharge his firearm.”
Objectively, there are only two possibilities that I can see here.
The first is that the officer did, in fact, fire his sidearm during the stress of the pursuit, did a tactical reload out of habit, and thus had a fully loaded magazine and one round in the chamber when a supervisor took his gun, making it appear he didn’t shoot. Believe it or not, there are many documented instances (including another incident just last week) where officers were unaware they fired a shot, even after the subject was hit, due to auditory exclusion (temporary deafness caused by intense concentration/stress). Auditory exclusion happens in up to 80% of officer-involved shootings.
But that’s not what the officer is claiming here.
He’s stating that he heard the shot and saw the suspect go down, but that he did not shoot… and perhaps the gunshot residue test and ballistics testing will confirm that the bullet that killed the suspect could not have come from his gun.
So who, then, fired?
Who is up at 3:30 in the morning with a gun in their hands, and why would they shoot someone running from a police officer, only to melt away in the dark without a trace?
This is a bizarre story, and it’s going to be interesting to follow to see where the Georgia Bureau of Investigation leads.