WAYCROSS, Ga. – Police officers did not turn on their body cameras during a traffic stop that ended in an officer shooting at two teenagers in South Georgia, investigators say.
In newly obtained 911 audio from minutes before the officer-involved shooting, officers can be heard saying the teens, along with their younger siblings who rode in a car with them, exceeded 120 miles per hour at times.
The 911 calls and CAD report were provided to News4Jax by Sean Simmons, a Waycross attorney. Simmons obtained the calls through public records request to the Ware County 911 center. The center’s director says at the request of the Waycross Police Department, the office is no longer releasing the records because the case is under investigation.
In the calls, Officer Jesse Shook can be heard saying he was following a silver Acura he saw speeding near the local Walmart.
“Can you let the county know there is a vehicle heading south on Memorial at a high rate of speed?” Shook said. “Probably like 100 miles per hour. I tried to catch up and it won’t stop.”
The first officer followed the vehicle for several minutes in attempt to get license plate information, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The officer did not switch on his vehicle’s siren or blue emergency lights.
At one point, Shook’s supervisor asks over the radio if he attempted a traffic stop or if he was not close enough.
“Negative,” said Shook. “Trying to come up behind him.”
The supervisor recommended the officer try to run the car’s tag and then to attempt a traffic stop safely.
What happened next occurred on the street where the 16-year-old driver and his four younger siblings live.
Officer Shook and Lt. Scott Rowell were wearing body-worn cameras, but according to a GBI spokesperson, the two officers did not turn them on. There’s also no dash cam video.
“The officer attempted to turn his body camera on, but the events unfolded so quickly that he didn’t turn it on in time to capture the entire incident,” GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles said.
According to the GBI, as the silver Acura approached Walters and Greenwood Street, three children, ages 9 to 14, exited the vehicle and ran to their home on the same street. Lt. Rowell responded and approached the car with the teenagers still in the driver and passenger seats. According to GBI, the vehicle drove towards Rowell and he fired his handgun multiple times at the vehicle.
The 15-year-old passenger denies the claim that he and his brother drove the car toward the officer saying “he already had the gun out before we even had a chance to stop the car.”
Parents of the teens can be seen on cellphone video begging police to let their children go, as the two laid handcuffed on the ground. The 15-year-old had a gash over his head in the video.
In a 911 call, one caller told dispatchers one of the officers “pistol-whipped” the 15-year-old. According to two GBI narratives on the case, there was an altercation between Lt. Rowell and the 15-year-old and Officer Shook used his taser to detain one of the teens.
In an interview with News4Jax, the 15-year-old said, “He told me ‘put your hands up,’ so I put my hands up. Then the next (thing) you know, he came and hit me in my eye with the gun and then the other officer came up and tased me on my back.”
The driver and passenger both face weapons charges and other counts as a result of the incident. Both teens have been released to their parents, according to family.
Officer Shook and Lt. Rowell remain on administrative leave pending the results of the GBI’s investigation.