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Chatham Co. officials discuss Thursday’s officer-involved shooting in Savannah

Two Chatham County Police officers are on administrative leave after a shooting Thursday night.
Two Chatham County Police officers are on administrative leave after a shooting Thursday night.(WTOC)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 12:09 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Two Chatham County Police officers are on administrative leave, per departmental protocol, after they were involved in a shooting on Thursday evening.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, on Thursday at approximately 8:10 p.m., the GBI was requested by the Chatham County Police Department to investigate an officer-involved shooting.

Preliminary information indicates that officers from CCPD were dispatched to a residence on Tara Court in Savannah around 7:30 p.m. regarding a person with a weapon. A neighbor called 911 and indicated that a man, identified as Vincent Gadson, 71, had pointed a gun at him. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the 911 caller. Another neighbor arrived on the scene and told officers that Gadson was still outside of his residence with a gun and was actively pointing it at him.

The GBI says officers then made contact and communicated with Gadson for approximately 15-20 minutes in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Gadson refused to comply with the officers’ commands to drop the gun, and then to move away from it. At one point, Gadson put the gun down on a chair on his porch, but then again picked up the gun. Two officers fired their weapons, striking Gadson. Gadson was transported to Memorial Health for treatment, where he is currently listed in stable condition.

“At one point, Gadson put the gun down on a chair on his porch, but then picked up the gun. Two officers fired their weapons, striking Gadson. Gadson was transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center for treatment, where he is listed in stable condition,’ said Chief Hadley.

One neighbor told WTOC she was outside with her sister cleaning out her garage when they saw Gadson walking down the street. She says he normally would stop to chat, but didn’t last night, and that he seemed upset.

“Cleaning out the garage, we were in the driveway, and he walked past us. And his head was down, and he looked a little distraught. My sister tried to have a conversation with him, which she does often, every day. He wouldn’t speak to us or anything. Then I guess shortly after that is when he pulled a gun on the neighbor,” said neighbor Amy Hayward.

Minutes later, a neighbor called police, saying Gadson was pointing a gun at them. Once officers arrived, they tried to de-escalate the situation.

Chief Hadley says the two who fired are a corporal, and an officer, both not being named at this time.

Chief Hadley commended the officers’ handling of the situation, calling what they encountered a very stressful and difficult set of circumstances.

Body cameras were activated at the time of the shooting.

The GBI continues its independent investigation.

This is the first officer-involved shooting for the Chatham County Police Department since the demerger between them and the Savannah Police Department in 2018.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis will hold a joint news conference with the Chatham County Police Department on the officer-involved shooting Friday at noon. Watch:

Chatham County News Conference, 5/14/2021

LIVE: County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis is holding a joint news conference with the Chatham County Police Department to discuss Thursday's officer-involved shooting. >> https://bit.ly/3w3a4M4

Posted by WTOC-TV on Friday, May 14, 2021

The following is a closer look at police department OIS procedures:

  1. Officers should give a verbal warning before shooting.. if practical.
  2. The officer’s weapon is then given to an outside agency investigating the shooting. In most cases, it’s the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
  3. A GBI unit will also conduct an administrative investigation.
  4. And officers involved in the shooting are placed on administrative leave until the investigation and reviews are completed.

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