WAYCROSS, Ga. - Jack Roberson's family gathered Wednesday afternoon at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Waycross to celebrate the life of the 43-year-old shot and killed by three police officers earlier this month.
A few hours earlier, a lawyer representing Roberson's family said he was shot nine times -- three in the back -- by the officers, and claims they used excessive force.
Waycross police said the officers fired at Roberson to protect themselves. A police report says officers responding to a report of a suicidal man on Oct. 4 fired on Roberson after he lunged at them with a large meat fork and what appeared to be a knife.
Roberson's fiancee can be heard in a 911 recording asking for an ambulance to come to their house. She told an operator Roberson had consumed pills and alcohol and said he wanted to die.
Attorney Christopher Chestnut said Wednesday that Roberson had a weapon, saying he had just come from the kitchen with a barbecue fork when the officers encountered him.
"The witnesses say there were no verbal commands, 'Stop or (we'll) shoot,'" Chestnut said. "They drew their guns before giving Roberson a chance to do anything. We have two witnesses, both who say they watched their loved one get gunned down."
Tuesday night, members of the community met with Waycross' mayor and city council to ask for a full investigation and for the appointment of a citizens' review board to look into this case and others like it.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the case, a process that can take months.
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