By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
THE GUN AND THE BAG, part 2: Waving a gun, 'no care in the world,' then police arrive
09182021 ENGLISHfowlerbodycam.jpg
This screen grab is taken from former Gainesville police officer Jonathan Fowler's bodycam footage on Sept. 20, 2019, approximately two seconds before officers opened fire on Adam English. The original footage is dark, so this image has been color-corrected to lighten it to allow a better view of what officers saw. The red streak is a lens flare.

This article is part two of a six-part series. Readers can start with part one.

Adam English was at a cookout with his family in the hours before he was shot by police in Gainesville, his aunt, Stormy Russell, said. 

Later that day, he was in the Gainesville area seeking treatment for substance use issues. He had “reached out to a local facility in order to begin receiving services for mental health," Russell said.

Just before 5 p.m. Sept. 20, 2019, he was shot by police outside the Northeast Georgia Physicians’ Group Surgical Associates on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. He died moments later inside the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

A half hour before he was shot, English broke into a car in the Northeast Georgia Medical Center parking lot, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation report obtained by The Times. He took a bag and a .38 caliber revolver that he later had at the scene of the shooting.

An NGPG Surgical Associates medical assistant heard a gunshot at her desk but didn’t know where it came from.

Her boss alerted the staff about a man outside with a gun and instructed people to lock the doors, though the woman kept watching from inside the office.

The gun and the bag: A series

This article is part two of a six-part series telling the story of Adam English, who on Sept. 20, 2019, was shot and killed by police outside a medical office on a busy thoroughfare in Gainesville after reports he was waving a gun around. The Times provided coverage as the story unfolded. When the case was closed, the investigative files became available under open records laws, and The Times paid $289.36 to obtain the records, including interviews, bodycam footage and photos. This series is an effort to more fully tell what happened on the side of Jesse Jewell Parkway that day.

“He kept waving the gun around,” the medical assistant told the GBI investigator. “He would put it to his temple, then he would put it underneath his chin. He would point it at cars. We were kind of concerned he was going to shoot someone in a car.”

The medical assistant said English had the gun in his right hand the entire time, hiding it with the bag.

Other witnesses told the GBI they saw English with a gun before police arrived but did not look outside again until after the police shot him.

One surgical associates’ employee said she believed English had a gun in his left hand, though others said he had it in his right.

After hearing the gunshot, administrator Rachel Bushart called hospital security around 4:33 p.m. and stayed on the phone with them during the incident. She told the staff to go to the conference room for safety, and she said she saw English put the gun in his bag and then grab it again, according to the GBI report.

A 911 call shortly after starts with a Northeast Georgia Health System employee saying they “got a call from one of our physicians’ groups indicating there’s a person waving a gun outside of the office.”

911 calls reporting gunman in front of hospital

The Times requested and was provided the recordings of two 911 calls made during the incident on Sept. 20, 2019, near the Northeast Georgia Medical Center on Jesse Jewell Parkway in which 21-year-old Adam English was killed by Gainesville police.

Two Northeast Georgia Health System security officers saw English with a gun, and one decided to approach from behind a bush to stay covered. Carl Schultz, the security supervisor told security guard Anthony Dewayne Shows to wait until GPD arrived.

The Times asked NGHS officials for access to speak with Shows, Schultz and the security team regarding the incident, but no one was made available.

Shows told the GBI that English was pacing back and forth in front of the building and was fumbling with one of his bags.

“His posture was ‘drooped’ as if he had ‘no care in the world,’” according to the security guard’s interview. “Shows advised that he knew that if he approached the subject at that time, the outcome would have been that he would have told the individual to put his hands up, the individual would not have complied and he would have had to shoot the individual.”

Roughly four miles away, Gainesville Police Officer Jose Hernandez was at Browns Bridge Road at Hilton Drive when the dispatch call came at 4:45 p.m.

The Times previously reviewed the 911 calls associated with the shooting, which showed confusion about the address. The surgical associates’ office and J&J Foods both have 1075 Jesse Jewell Parkway addresses but in opposite directions.

Hernandez said he drove by the J&J Foods to confirm the incident wasn’t at the grocery store.

More than eight minutes after the 911 call started, Gainesville Police officers arrived at the scene.

As Bushart heard police sirens approach, she also “heard yelling from a parking lot but couldn’t understand exactly what was being said because she was also on the phone with security and there was a lot of activity on the line,” according to the GBI report. 

“The subject had the gun behind his back and he flinched like he was going to pull the gun from behind and then Bushart heard shots,” according to Bushart’s interview with the GBI. “The subject maintained the gun.”

Bushart declined to speak with The Times about the incident beyond what was in the GBI report.

Gainesville Police’s Jonathan Fowler, Christopher Witt and Hernandez parked their cars on Jesse Jewell Parkway after finding English, Witt detailed in his interview with the GBI. They and two other officers, Lt. Kevin Holbrook and Officer Nick Smith, approached with guns drawn.

“I just repeatedly yell out, ‘Show me your hands. Show me your hands,’” Hernandez told the GBI agent.

Continue to part three of this series.