SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A grand jury has not indicted a Savannah-Chatham Metro police officer who was accused of fatally shooting a Savannah man in March.
The grand jury did not find enough evidence to move the case against Officer Jason Carey forward on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
The officer said Larry Wall tried to stab him at the time of the shooting. The Wall's family has been pushing for action and answers. They had been holding rallies and protests over the last few months outside the Chatham County courthouse, hoping to pressure the Chatham County District Attorney's Office into action.
The District Attorney's Office investigated rumors including that the officer had not been assigned to the beat, which it concluded were not true. The office had reviewed the case file from the GBI regarding the shooting, and had also determined there was no evidence of "bad blood" between Carey and Wall.
"We determined that the deceadant told the family he felt safe with the officer because he recognized him from high school so there was no evidence we could find there was bad blood between the officer and the deceadent," Larry Chisolm, Chatham County District Attorney, said.
His office also says there was no evidence to support the rumor the officer was in an alleged relationship with Wall's girlfriend, Andrea Lovett, who was the subject of the original vandalism call Wall made to 911.
The shooting happened after Wall had called 911 to report vandalism. Police said the officer discovered an outstanding warrant for Wall's arrest, and then Wall fled.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett released the following statement:
It is an unfortunate situation when an officer has to take the life of an individual for any reason. However, as unfortunate as it may be, as a law enforcement officer there will come a time when that decision will have to be made. We try to provide all of our officers with the training that will aid in the process. But, there will never be a duplicate situation that we can use as a model. No decision is easy. Do you save a life or do you take a life? We pray and trust that we make the right one. Under no circumstances is this easy. And when there is doubt we have a system in place that allows the citizens of this community to examine the facts. Today was the result of that fact finding body of the Grand Jury that said Officer Jason Carey made the right decision.
Officer Carey is expected to return to work on Monday.
Meanwhile, the family and friends of Larry Wall are unhappy about the grand jury decision.
"Today means I have no respect for the law in Chatham County. None whatsoever, no respect for the DA anymore, none of them. Justice was not served, things were not done correctly. That's all I got to say, no respect," Valdara Wall, Wall's mother, told WTOC.
"Like I said it's not over," Edna Beaufort, Wall's aunt, told WTOC.
"The DA presented a weak case. They presented it in order to go the way that it went," Parthenia Wall, Wall's aunt, told WTOC.