Four Columbia County sheriff's officers have been placed on administrative leave with pay after the fatal shooting Monday night of a 44-year-old Martinez woman who police say was threatening suicide.
Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said Tuesday that an investigation will determine who fired the fatal shot, but he said Kimberly Weathers was fired at by Staff Sgt. Bobby Williams and deputies David Herrity, William Oats and Nathan Jones after Ms. Weathers aimed a gun at an officer.
Deputy Herrity has been with the department for 16 years, Capt. Morris said. Sgt. Williams has been on the force for seven years, and Deputies Oates and Jones have worked for Columbia County for three years.
An autopsy performed Tuesday on Ms. Weathers, of the 200 block of New Petersburg Drive, found she had been fatally shot once in the chest, said Columbia County Deputy Coroner Vernon Collins, adding that a second bullet grazed her under her right arm.
Capt. Morris said his department would conduct an administrative review and a criminal investigation. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is conducting an independent investigation.
The findings will be turned over to the district attorney's office for review, Capt. Morris said.
"It will be weeks,'' he said of the time frame for the investigations.
The incident began, police say, just after 5 p.m. Monday when authorities received a call from Ms. Weathers, who was threatening suicide.
Capt. Morris said the woman had a gun inside her apartment, which is near River Watch Parkway and Baston Road.
"We had nearly two dozen officers on the scene at the time of the shooting,'' Capt. Morris said.
At one point, he said, the woman fired three times from inside her apartment through a window, striking no one.
"And 45 minutes later she comes out of the home with a gun in hand and aims at an officer,'' he said.
At that point, Capt. Morris said, officers fired at Ms. Weathers.
She was pronounced dead at 7:28 p.m. at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Mr. Collins said.
It was the first fatal shooting for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office since September 2000, when Gary Lee Cooper, a 47-year-old Grovetown man, barricaded himself inside a home and fired at them, police said. On Dec. 30, 1999, a Columbia County officer also fatally shot 33-year-old Scott A. Mauro, a former deputy with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Police said he charged a group of 10 special response officers while pointing a loaded shotgun at them.
Reach Preston Sparks at 868-1222, ext. 115, or email@example.com.
From the September 1, 2004 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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