GBI investigating fatal officer-involved shooting

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GBI is investigating an officer-involved shooting today that happened last night in Kingsland at a Gross Road apartment. A Kingsland police officer shot and killed a man who was threatening a woman with a knife. 

Kingsland officers responded at 10:49 p.m. Sunday to a domestic dispute at Camden Way apartments after a 911 call about a woman screaming, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation press release.

Officers looked through a window and saw Gearil Leonard Williams, 47, holding a knife and an upset woman who was yelling for them to come in, according to GBI and Kingsland Police Department releases. As the officers came inside, the woman ran to a bedroom. Williams followed her and barricaded the door. Officers tried to get in but couldn’t get through.

“The female could be heard screaming and pleading for help through the door,” according to KPD.

KPD Sgt. Paul George went outside and broke the bedroom window, seeing Williams holding the woman and threatening her with a knife. George shot Williams, who was pronounced dead at the scene. None of the officers were hurt.

The woman was taken to the hospital to be treated for cuts on her face and possible facial fractures from the struggle with Williams, according to GBI and KPD. Williams’ body has been sent to the GBI crime lab in Pooler for an autopsy. 

GBI responded at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday to begin investigating and George has been placed on administrative leave, which are both standard practices after an officer-involved shooting. 

“The incident in its entirety was captured by the officers’ body-worn camera systems,” according to KPD.

GBI will send the case to the district attorney’s office for review once agents finish their work.

This is the second fatal officer-involved shooting in as many years in Kingsland. The city was criticized for its response after the death of Tony Green in 2018 when neither the department nor the city ever released a statement. This time KPD issued its own press release on the shooting, ending with this comment.

“The Kingsland Police Department understands the value of every human life and will work to maintain transparency throughout this investigation,” according to the release. “The department recognizes during officer-involved shooting incidents, the media and community have many questions. We will do our best to provide information as it is available to be released and we appreciate the community’s patience while this investigation proceeds. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this incident.”

Updated at 11:20 a.m. to include new information from KPD