I-75 wreck snarls traffic for hours, GBI officials explain why

7:26 PM, Sep 10, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- As police release more information about the deadly officer involved shooting on I-75 Sunday, the GBI is explaining why the scene took so long to process.

Police say they tried several times to stop 53-year old Jerome Cundy, who was wanted for allegedly robbing a Marathon gas station on Bells Ferry Road. The chase led them on I-575 and I-75 south, before Cobb County police managed to stop Cundy near South Marietta Parkway.

When Cundy got out of his vehicle, officers say he pulled out a firearm, prompting officers to fire in defense. The GBI was quickly called in to investigate. But instead of using the typical tape measure and notepad, special agents used a high tech laser scanning device designed to take a 3D image of the scene.

The scan took about 90 minutes, but special agent Jessie Wilson says it would have taken four or five hours the old fashion way and investigators would have walked away with a lot less data.

"Let's says they were running from over here and they got in the car, we can actually have the person, like a bird's eye view of you running, then getting in the vehicle. It's just very lifelike," explained Wilson.

On Monday, the GBI showed off the tool, now used to investigate every officer involved shooting and some of the more complicated homicide cases in Georgia.

"Once a scene is let go, once they re-open 75 this past weekend, it's gone we can't retrieve anything," said GBI spokesman John Bankhead.

But with this camera, what you see, it sees. Even better, it can give investigators the view of any witness at the scene. The investigator just has to enter their height and the location where they were standing or sitting.

"To make sure witnesses are telling the truth and the way the incident happened occurred the way they saw it. It also will let the investigators know it couldn't have happened the way the witnesses said," commented Bankhead.

The scans can also then be used to re-create the investigators explanation of what happened for a jury to see, something the GBI says prime time law and legal shows have groomed juries to expect.

"They thought we had this type of technology years ago but we didn't," said Bankhead.

The GBI has not yet said how many shots were fired, or which officer fired the fatal shot. Those are questions they hope to answer with their investigation. The Woodstock officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave.

The system costs about $160,000 and is paid for with money seized in drug raids. The GBI has four cameras distributed throughout the state right now and hopes to purchase four more. The manufacturer also has a projector that can display the image as a hologram, but the GBI says it's not ready to spring for that, just yet.

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