BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. – A Bartow County grand jury has declined to indict a Euharlee police officer in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old.
Cpl. Beth Gatny shot and killed Christopher Roupe while serving an arrest warrant at the family's home on Feb. 14.
According to a search warrant from the GBI, Gatny told investigators "before the door could be opened...[she] heard what she believed to be the action of a firearm".
The GBI said Gatny then began drawing her service weapon when Roupe opened the front door.
Gatny told investigators, "A male subject opened the front door pointing a pistol...and pulled the trigger."
The family insists Chris wasn't holding a gun, but had a gaming remote in his hands.
The Cherokee County Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office had presented a proposed indictment charging Gatny with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. The grand jury, however, said they did not find sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
Euharlee City Manager Trish Sullivan said, "We are pleased with the grand jury's no bill in this case and appreciate prayers for all involved".
Euharlee Mayor Dennis Thayer issued a statement that reads:
The events of February 14, 2014 have touched just about every corner of our community to some extent; as they would any other small community just like ours. The events of that evening have played out in the media to a great extent and in turn caused most everyone to form some opinion on what actually transpired that night.
I want to thank the citizens of Euharlee and the surrounding community for demonstrating tolerance and patience by not jumping to conclusions based upon partial or unconfirmed information and allow the proper legal agencies and our justice system the time to sort out what has been no doubt a very complex situation. In the end the facts of the case have been heard by the Grand Jury and thus dictated the proper conclusion.
While the events of February 14th will not soon be forgotten, the Grand Jury's decision brings us to a point where the healing process can start and we can look towards the future and the return to some level of normalcy.
A previous grand jury had ruled that deadly force was not authorized. That grand jury had asked the district attorney's office to take further measures.
Cole Law, an attorney for Roupe's family said they were stunned by the second grand jury's decision not to bring charges against Gatny.
"We don't know what they heard and we cannot know what they heard," said Law. "They only heard one side. The first grand jury said, 'Let's pursue charges against this officer.' We're at a loss as to why it went to another grand jury. It's very simple: you do not kill a child that comes to the door with a toy in his hand."
Gatny remains on administrative leave. Euharlee Police Chief Terry Harget said that Gatney and the department will talk over the next several weeks about her future. He would not elaborate. He said if she does return to the force, it won't be for several weeks.
Roupe's family said they will bring a civil suit against the city and Cpl. Gatny.