Details emerge in deadly Cobb County police shooting

Photo from witness

On Tuesday, police shot and killed a man in Cobb County while trying to serve an arrest warrant at the Vinings Crossing Shopping Center.

Nicholas Thomas, 23, was at work at Bob McDonald's Goodyear when police called the owner to tell him they were about to serve a warrant.

Moments later, police had surrounded the building.

"They called and said that he was wanted for a warrant and they were going to come and pick him up and by the time I came out, they had already come up," said John McDonald.

Thomas was pulling a customer's 2006 Mazarati into a stall to begin work on it when he saw police.

"And I guess he saw the officers come on this side, and then he backed up and then saw people were behind him and then he went forward," said McDonald.

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, an officer fired into the moving car in fear that Thomas placed them "at risk to receive serious bodily injury or death."

Authorities said that after the officer 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.

"It's a travesty the way they're out here killing kids and he had no weapon whatsoever," said the victim's father, Huey Thomas.

McDonald called the owner of the Mazarati to tell him what happened. He said the customer was more concerned about the life that had been lost.

Thomas was hired as a mechanic just three months ago.

The officer who shot Thomas was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for the Smyrna Police Department.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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