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DA clears deputies in July 11 shooting

Deputies’ reinstatement from leave is up to sheriff’s office

POSTED: July 31, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Saying "the conclusion was clear from the evidence," Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh has cleared two Hall County sheriff's deputies of any wrongdoing in a fatal shooting July 11 at Harbour Point subdivision.

Darragh's report came after a GBI investigation into the incident in which the deputies were forced to use their weapons to subdue John Pearce after he shot and stabbed his mother to death and injured his aunt.

"Having reviewed the just completed investigation of the GBI into the officer involved
shooting at the Harbour Point subdivision, I have determined that the Hall County sheriff's deputies acted courageously, justifiably and in fact with remarkable restraint in trying to take the suspect into custody before of necessity having to fire their weapons," Darragh said in a statement released to the media Saturday.

"Therefore, no further action by the District Attorney's office is necessary. It is my hope that the officers may soon be able to put this incident behind them and continue with successful careers protecting our citizens."

Darragh declined to comment further, and said the deputies' reinstatement from administrative leave, which is routine in such a case, would be up to the sheriff's office.

Darragh met Friday with GBI officials, who presented their findings.

Deputies Charles F. Greenwell and Rainey N. Wood shot Pearce in a confrontation in the upscale neighborhood on the night of July 11. They responded to a call that Pearce had stabbed and shot his mother, Mary Pearce, and stabbed his aunt, Gretchan Pearce, who remains on the mend from her injuries.

When the deputies arrived, they found Pearce covered with blood and naked near his home. He was shot during a confrontation in the cul-de-sac.

Family members have had little comment on the incident. However, in a letter to The Times published July 11, Charlie A. Pearce, husband of the woman injured in the attack and John Pearce's nephew, said he believed deputies acted properly.

"I support and am very grateful for the decisive action the officers took," he wrote.

 



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