WTOC Investigates: Lawyer, family say police account of Ricky Boyd shooting inaccurate

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - In the early morning hours of January 23, members of the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force gathered with Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department officers to plan the capture of 20-year-old, Ricky Jerome Boyd.

He was their prime suspect in the murder a few days earlier of Balil Whitfield.

Boyd, a recent high school graduate, with no criminal record was at home with a couple of younger siblings and his grandmother when Marshals came knocking at 6:15 a.m.

What happened next is a story that continues to change. From a suspect opening fire on police, to a man just waving a BB gun, to a simple confrontation that ended in a hail of bullets seconds after it started.

The scene was chaotic that mild and wet January morning when Marshals and Metro surrounded a small ranch-style home on Marian Circle and knocked on the front door.

"And I came to the door and that's when they asked me to exit the house with my hands up," said Mattie Wallace, Boyd's grandmother.

It was still dark and before stepping out, Wallace flipped on the porch light.

The Marshal's suspect was the last one out of the house.  Wallace says she remembers Ricky standing in the light like it was this morning.

"He came out of the house and then, like, somebody called him. So, he turned around that way. And then somebody must be saying something else to him and he turned this way. Then I heard somebody say, "he got a gun." And I say, "don't shoot, don't shoot. He don't have no gun. He don't have no gun," Wallace said. "And I could see he didn't have a gun."

When it was over, Ricky Boyd was bleeding to death on the front porch, there were police and media everywhere.

Shortly after the shooting, Savannah Police Interim Chief Mark Revenew showed up at the scene, was briefed by his officers about what happened and made this statement:

"They located the suspect. He initiated gunfire towards officers. The officers returned gunfire. We do have one of our Sergeants that was shot several times…"

Later that same afternoon, the Chief Revenew held an official news conference at police headquarters downtown. And the story tended to change a bit with this statement:

"Upon the officer's arrival they called out the suspect and he confronted them with a weapon. He was critically injured. We had an officer that was injured also."

No longer did Ricky Boyd exit the house and fire on officers, he exited the house with what they say was a BB gun in his hand. Yes, the story changed a bit.

The family of Ricky Boyd will tell you that story is about to change again.

But the only way to really know how, is to gain access to the investigation materials, police and witness testimony, video, pictures.

I put in an Open Records Request for any updates on the Ricky Boyd investigation now solely in the hands of the GBI.

The response?  This is still an open case and nothing can be released other than the standard case fact sheet.

It was even softer on what lead up to the shooting, saying, "A confrontation occurred between Task Force and SCMPD officers which resulted in officers discharging their firearms and striking Boyd."

Boyd's family is taking additional steps to make sure their side of the story of what happened that morning is told.

"We've discovered new evidence that we are going to be releasing in the form of a video on Thursday morning. And what people need to know is that there are some very, very serious questions about why Ricky Boyd was shot and about the statements that were released particularly by Chief Revenew on that morning," Attorney Will Claiborne said.

The murder of Balili Whitfield is still an open investigation based on another open records request.

Why is this important? Because it means there is the possibility whoever killed Whitfield is still out there.  It means that Ricky Boyd may not have been THE suspect but one of the suspects in Whitfield's murder.

Once again, Claiborne will be posting a short video explaining more about the additional evidence he claims to have in the Ricky Boyd police shooting tomorrow on his law firm's website.

I'll have much more detail on why, if Boyd was carrying a BB gun, when he came out that door, it must have had wings. That story Thursday night on The News at 6.

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