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GBI agent kills man wanted in robbery

Suspect pointed toy pistol, fled from officials in Helen

POSTED: July 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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Bank robbery suspect

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A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent shot and killed the suspect in Thursday’s robbery of a Dahlonega bank during a foot chase Friday in Helen after the suspect pointed a toy pistol at officers, authorities said.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said authorities believe the suspect may have committed "suicide by cop."

"His actions were indicative of that type of situation," Bankhead said, noting that the man ignored several shouted orders by officers to drop his weapon before he was shot.

The shooting occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on Carrie Cox Drive near downtown Helen after a White County deputy confronted the suspect as he was leaving his home, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Capt. Jason Stover said.

White County Coroner Ricky Barrett said late Friday he had not yet located the suspect’s family and could not release his name until next of kin had been notified. He said the man was 44 years old and lived in Helen.

Bankhead said authorities were preparing to charge the suspect with the Thursday armed robbery of Dahlonega’s Mountain State Bank on South Chestatee Street.

Stover said the suspect was identified through tips received after surveillance photos from the bank robbery were made public. Several bank tellers picked the suspect out of a photo lineup, Bankhead said.

A White County sheriff’s deputy posted outside the man’s home tried to stop him when he walked out the front door and the suspect ran, Bankhead said.

A Lumpkin County deputy and a GBI agent gave chase on foot, and at some point the suspect turned and pointed "what appeared to be a handgun" at the officers, Bankhead said.

Both the GBI agent and the Lumpkin County deputy fired shots after their commands for the suspect to drop the weapon were ignored, Bankhead said. It was unclear Friday whether both men shot the suspect.

Barrett said the man died in the front yard of a residence about 200 yards from his home.

The "gun" was a replica of a Smith & Wesson handgun, Bankhead said. It was not capable of firing shots, he said.

The agent who shot the suspect is from the agency’s Region 8 office based out of Cleveland, Bankhead said. Agents from the GBI’s Athens office were called in to investigate the shooting, he said.



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