Walker County Sheriff Sergeant Thomas Agredano has been released from the hospital this morning after being shot in the leg last night. Sergeant Agredano is the 50thofficer-involved shooting in Georgia in 2019.
WRCB reports that at approximately 9:40pm Sunday night, Walker County Sheriffs responded to a domestic disturbance with an unwanted party on Claire Street in Rossville, which sits right on the Tennessee-Georgia border. Rossville is a small city of less than 5,000 residents south of Chattanooga.
The GBI has responded to an officer involved shooting in Walker County. One deputy + one subject has been struck. Both deputy + subject are stable. Agents are currently gathering details. pic.twitter.com/kMzD5Ni2V7
— GA Bureau of Invest (@GBI_GA) August 12, 2019
Sheriff Steve Wilson of the Walker County Sheriff’s office states that when the officers arrived at the scene, the male suspect was sitting on the front porch.
According to Marietta Daily Journal, Wilson reported that when the deputies approached the man, they noticed he had a gun on his lap and told the officers to leave. He said to WRCB:
“The deputies cautiously tried to make contact with him and create a dialogue with him. Immediately he started shooting.”
The suspect is now identified as Sherman Travis Thomas, a 47 year Chickamauga, GA man.
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Deputies returned fire at Thomas, striking the man multiple times. Both Thomas and Sergeant Agredano were transported to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Thomas is listed as in critical condition.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting, as is standard practice.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Joshua Sharpe, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations saw a sharp increase in officer involved shootings in 2018.
Last year, the Bureau reported 95 officer involved shootings, 53 of which were fatal. Fatal shooting were up 77% over 2017.
The Bureau is responsible for researching and reporting on any instance in which anyone is seriously injured or killed in a situation involving any state agency. Sharpe reports that the Bureau also includes instances where an officer discharges their weapon and misses.
This is the 50th OIS that the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2019. https://t.co/xUvPCnLpcH
— Nelly Miles (@NMilesGBIPIO) August 12, 2019
Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Asia Simone Burns says that Director of the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs is concerned about the increasing trends in the state. He says:
“We know the number (of deadly shootings) has increased this year, and it is still very troubling to us. Only one in one thousand police encounters involve use of force.”
The Georgia Public Safety Training Center, with 8 locations in the state, provides training resources to all state and local agencies. Recognizing that use of force is sometimes necessary, Chadd Wilson, an instructor with GPSTC told Burns that:
“Any time an officer has to use force, it is troubling but it’s not alarming unless it is not justifiable.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigations Director Vernon Keenan cited drug use as a factor in many deadly confrontations with police, according to Burns. He says:
“In many of these cases the deceased had been using drugs. You have a combination of illegal drugs, mental health issues and a person that has a firearm having a disregard for the authority of law enforcement.”
It is not known if Sherman Travis Thomas was under the influence or had any other contributing factors in the Sunday night shooting of Sergeant Thomas Agredano. Thomas is expected to face two counts of aggravated assault against law enforcement.