By Ada Wood, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga
When 61-year-old Faron Morris Hammond fired a 12-gauge shotgun and struck a Hogansville police officer in April, the officers returned fire and killed him.
Nearly five months later, Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herb Cranford concluded the officers “were justified in using deadly force” and has closed the case, according to a news release.
Police went to Hammond’s home on Lincoln Street on April 25about 9 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from his next-door neighbor, who told them the man was playing loud music, screaming and using obscenities.
But when Officer Joshua McCoy arrived at the home, he didn’t hear any noise or see Hammond, according to the DA.
About 30 minutes later, the police received a second call, this time from a neighbor across the street moments before a third call from Hammond complaining about threats from his neighbor. McCoy and Sgt. Shane Fitch then returned to the scene and spoke to the neighbors to confirm their stories.
When they spoke to Hammond through his closed front door for two minutes, he yelled and screamed at the officers, according to the news release. The DA said Hammond then pointed a shotgun at the officers through a window.
At that point, they kicked open the front door and Hammond fired, hitting Fitch in the abdomen, Cranford said. The officers then fired back, striking Hammond, according to the release.
The man died on the scene after being shot four times, according to the autopsy.
Fitch, who was wearing a protective vest, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the GBI said.
During the investigation by the GBI, body camera footage was reviewed to confirm the events. When Hammond’s family was consulted by investigators, they said he suffered from mental disorders and may have been on a variety of medications, was known to drink, had previous arrests and convictions — including threats to harm law enforcement — and “harbored considerable animus towards the Hogansville Police Department,” according to the release.
The investigation also found “at all times Sgt. Finch was calm, polite and non-threatening with the language he used” and gave commands to Hammond to drop his weapon before any shots were fired, according to the DA.
Ultimately, the DA’s office said it found insufficient evidence that either officer violated Georgia laws and the case was closed Thursday, without being presented to a grand jury.