PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. -- Police say a deputy had no choice but to fire his weapon in a deadly shooting in Paulding County on Thursday – but family is calling it a murder.
Deputy David Martin is a 10-year veteran of law enforcement. He’s been with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office since February of 2014 and is a member of their Warrants Division and their SWAT team. Now, he’s on administrative leave after a quick decision in the basement of a local home.
“As soon as they made entry, of course, their weapons were drawn and their weapons do have flashlights on them,” Paulding County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Ashley Henson said. “If you’ve ever been in a pitch-black room, a flashlight only illuminates what it’s pointed at.”
In this case, deputies said the flashlight showed Brandon Bohanan moving toward them. So Deputy Martin fired one shot that ultimately killed Bohanan – a man who already had two warrants and had barricaded himself in the basement of the home.
The warrants were for probation violations stemming from a criminal trespass charge out of Paulding and a theft by deception and forgery charge out of Gwinnett.
His family said that’s not a reason to die.
“My grandson, I do admit, had a lot of petty thefts,” his grandmother said. “He’s been in jail a lot of times and they know him. He’s got God in him first in heart. They took down a pest to them today.”
They are calling this a cold-blooded murder and some are starting to believe it wasn’t a clean incident but the department said they’ve taken the actions needed for a fair investigation.
“That’s why we bring in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation - they’re a third-party that’s unbiased and they come in," Henson said. “And they analyze all the evidence.”
But it might be a while before the GBI gets to this case. They’ve had to investigate 68 officer-involved shootings so far this year.
“However long it takes will be OK with us because we want them to come to a complete understanding of what took place,” Henson said.
In the meantime, they’re still looking for 27-year-old Lelia Sierra Duncan who was the reason they went to the house in the first place.
“We feel horrible for this family,” Henson said. “We grieve with this family; we are just as upset about this as they are and obviously they’re going to be extremely upset and we can empathize with how they feel about the situation.”
Right now, it’s just not clear how long the investigation will take. A couple of other people in the home were arrested as well. One woman who was barricaded with Bohanan was arrested for obstruction and another man inside was charged with having a firearm – he was a convicted felon – and giving false information to police.