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Hall deputy who shot motorcyclist thought he had a weapon. It was a glove
02132021 sheriff lights

A Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy who shot a motorcyclist in the face after a short chase thought the suspect had a weapon in his hand. It turned out to be a black motorcycle glove after further investigation.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch released further details Friday in a statement after the Sept. 3 shooting involving Deputy Jeremy Cooksey and Marshall Hooper, 37, of Buford.

The incident began about 9:30 p.m. when the Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop Hooper’s motorcycle on McEver Road in Buford.

Couch said Hooper wrecked his motorcycle and tried to leave the scene and made “several furtive actions during the encounter.”

While kneeling by the motorcycle, Hooper “appeared to be manipulating something near his waistband” and did not comply with the deputy’s commands to show his hands, Couch said.

“At one point, the suspect abruptly turned to face the deputy while rapidly extending his arms,” Couch said in his statement. “The suspect appeared to have a black object in his hand as he did so.”

Cooksey fired one round and hit Hooper in his chin, and deputies rendered aid to Hooper until he was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

“Following the shooting, investigators determined the object that appeared to be in the suspect’s hand was a black motorcycle glove he was wearing,” Couch said. “No weapon was located.”

Cooksey remains on paid administrative leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation works the case.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to answer follow-up questions about the shooting, including why Cooksey stopped Hooper. 

After the GBI’s investigation, it will be turned over to Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh for review.

Couch said traffic stops “are one of the most dangerous aspects of law enforcement.” 

“This is especially true when the traffic stop occurs at night and the suspect attempts to flee, fails to follow lawful commands, and makes an abrupt motion toward the deputy,” the sheriff said in his statement. “In this incident, the deputy reasonably believed the suspect was armed and had the intent of firing a weapon. Our deputies do their best to keep both the public and themselves safe. Often, they are placed in difficult and dangerous situations where they must make split-second decisions under extremely tense situations that are uncertain and rapidly evolving, without the benefit of hindsight.”