Grand Jury finds Smyrna officer justified in Nicholas Thomas sho - CBS46 News

Grand Jury finds Smyrna officer justified in Nicholas Thomas shooting

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Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said that the Cobb Grand Jury reviewed the facts and the evidence in the March 24, 2015, shooting death of Nicholas Thomas by police and determined the shooting was justified. 

The Grand Jury recommended no further action be taken in the case.

“The loss of life is unfortunate, and I sincerely sympathize with Mr. Thomas’s survivors. But when he drove the vehicle toward officers in the manner he did, the officer who fired the shots was justified under the law to use lethal force,” DA Reynolds said. “Police officers in Georgia are authorized to fire their weapons to protect themselves or others from immediate bodily harm. That is what happened in this case.” 

Police have said Smyrna police Sgt. Kenneth Owens shot Thomas outside the Goodyear store where Thomas worked in metro Atlanta. Police have said Thomas drove a Maserati toward officers as they tried to serve him with a warrant for a parole violation.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said this was the second time that officers attempted to serve Thomas with a warrant. When he disobeyed orders, Owens fired at him.

Smyrna police said that Thomas drove around the building several times at "a high rate of speed." According to a statement from the police department, Owens fired into the moving car in fear that Thomas placed them "at risk to receive serious bodily injury or death."

Authorities said that after Owens opened fire, the car came to a stop. Officers then gave commands to Thomas, but received no response, according to police.

The window tint was so dark on the luxury car, McDonald said police needed to see inside.

"Looks like he used some sort of shotgun with no lethal rounds. It was an orange colored gun, trying to bust out the window," said McDonald.

Smyrna police said the orange colored gun had "less than lethal bean bag rounds," and was used to break the passenger side window so they could see inside the car. 

Once police made contact, they said Thomas was unresponsive inside the car and later pronounced dead by personnel from the fire department.

McDonald does not believe Thomas had a weapon.

The medical examiner's report says Thomas died from a gunshot wound after a bullet entered his upper back on the right side. Owens was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for the Smyrna Police Department.

CBS46 was able to reach the mother of Nicholas, Felicia Thomas and she wasn't prepared to speak. She says when CBS46 Reporter Dontaye Carter called her to ask for an interview, it was the first time she had learned of the DA's ruling.

Mrs. Thomas is scheduled to speak on the incident on Friday. will have more information as it becomes available.

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