ATLANTA — Autopsy results reveal the cause of death of a 17-year-old shot and killed by a Cobb County officer is a homicide.
The teen was shot at the end of a chase in July. According to Attorney Maria Banjo, Truitt was shot as he ran from officers after getting out of a car in which he had been a passenger. Officers had pursued it following a report of a stolen vehicle.
Banjo said Truitt's family feels vindicated by the report.
“Because there have been multiple reports from law enforcement regarding whether or not Mr. Truitt ended up firing at police or used a weapon in an offensive matter,” said Banjo.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has said a handgun was "brandished" by Truitt before he was shot.
“Under Georgia law, there is no definition of what brandishing means," Banjo countered. "It’s a crime to point a gun at someone, it’s a crime to discharge it at someone. Neither of those things are alleged to have happened in this case.”
Possessing a firearm as a minor is a misdemeanor offense. And Banjo said Truitt was running away and posed no danger to officers.
“Soon after Mr. Truitt got out of the vehicle, he was gunned down," she said.
The GBI confirmed Director Vic Reynolds privately met with the family and their attorney. Truitt’s family attorneys said in a statement Reynolds told them he viewed the body camera footage which showed the teen “never pointed a gun at any officer. The officer never commanded Truitt to drop his weapon, stop, or not to move.”
Banjo added Reynolds told the family they plan to wrap up the investigation towards the end of October and will transfer the case to the district attorney to make a final decision. Despite the autopsy results showing the cause of death as a homicide, it does not automatically result in a homicide charge by the Cobb County DA.
“That’s a decision for the district attorney to make at the end of the day,” said Banjo. “It being a homicide in this particular case is something that is going to have to be investigated thoroughly.”
Banjo told 11Alive one officer fired the shots and was placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the GBI investigation. She added the family is scheduled to sit down with the district attorney to go over the case and was told the DA is willing to show some of the body camera video to the family.