WAYCROSS, Ga. – Two teenage brothers were arrested on gun charges and other counts after a Waycross police officer attempting a traffic stop fired multiple gunshots at their car, according to investigators.
The shooting is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is drawing national criticism by the NAACP and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris who called the shooting “horrifying and inexcusable.”
A 16-year-old boy and his brother -- Kamar Boyd, 15 -- were two minutes away from home with several younger siblings in their car when Waycross Police Officer Jesse Shook began to follow the teenagers because they ran a stop sign and Shook was attempting to get the license plate information, according to the GBI. The GBI later stated the officer never activated his siren or blue emergency lights.
According to the GBI, the 16-year-old stopped the car at the intersection of Walters and Greenwood streets, yards away from the kids’ front door. The teens’ younger siblings, all younger than 14, ran out of the car in the direction of their home.
Boyd, who was in the passenger seat, said he was concerned about what the police might do and that their siblings could get hurt.
“I know how these folks [are]. He already had the gun out before we even had a chance to stop the car,” said Boyd. “I’m like, ‘My brothers and sisters are in the car. I got to get them out.‘”
According to the GBI, a second officer responded to assist while the first officer followed the three minors who ran from the car. At this point, according to information from investigators, the teens were only being followed because they had allegedly run a stop sign.
According to the GBI, the second officer -- Lt. Scott Rowell -- approached the vehicle from the front, when the teens’ vehicle drove toward him. Boyd denies this claim.
Investigators said the officer fired multiple times at the vehicle and that the two teenagers got out of the car while it was still in drive. Neither was hit by a bullet, but video taken of the car shows bullet holes in the side of the vehicle.
The younger children previously told News4Jax that as they ran off, bullets “whizzed by” them. GBI investigators said in a news release that they have no evidence to indicate Rowell fired shots at or near the younger children who ran home.
“We [were] driving off slowly to get away so he could follow us, and not my little brothers and sisters. Next thing you know, he was firing at the gas tank and it went rolling that way,” said Boyd. “We got out right here and put our hands up and he steady saying, ‘if y’all don’t get on the ground, we will shoot.‘
“He told me, ‘Put your hands up,’ so I put my hands up,” Boyd said. “Then 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 GBI confirmed Shook used a taser on one of the juveniles but investigators stated that Shook “had to utilize his taser to secure one of the juveniles in handcuffs” following an altercation between the second officer and the 15-year-old.
GBI said there is no bodycam or dashcam video that captured the incident. Anyone with information about this incident or knows of video taken by witnesses is asked to contact the GBI at 912-389-4103.
Cellphone video shows the two teens handcuffed and lying on the ground with two officers standing over them as their parents pleaded for officers to release them.
The 16-year-old driver was charged with possession of a handgun by a person under 18, reckless driving, stop sign violation, aggravated assault of a police officer and driving with no driver’s license. He remains in the youth detention center. His younger brother is charged with possession of a handgun by a person under 18, obstruction of an officer and removal or attempt to remove a firearm from an officer but was released back into the custody of his parents.
The father of both boys, Dominique Goodman Sr., said there was a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle and that it’s registered to the 15-year-old’s mother. He said he believes the boys had no idea it was in the vehicle.
Both teens have been released to house arrest and are being permitted to go to school and work, according to their parents.
A community event about the incident is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Macedonia Church.
GBI agents said in a release that when the investigation is complete, they will hand over the case file to the Ware County District Attorney’s Office. The office is led by District Attorney George Barnhill, who is currently under investigation for his handling of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting death investigation.
The attorney advised officers back in February 2019 that a former district attorney investigator and his son did not need to be arrested because they were acting under a citizen’s arrest law. The two were charged with felony murder months later.