GBI identifies man killed in deputy-involved shooting in Walton County

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Investigators have released the name of the man shot and killed by law enforcement officers Thursday afternoon in Walton County after deputies received a bizarre 911 call.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said William Earnest Brooks, 43, was killed in a confrontation with officers from several law enforcement agencies including the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Social Circle Police Department.

The GBI said it started with a 911 call around 2:25 p.m. Deputies were directed to a rural home on Social Circle Fairplay Road about two miles northeast of the city of Social Circle. Investigators said the caller described a suspicious man riding an ATV outside this home.

According to the GBI, the caller told 911 operators there should have been someone at the home at the time to do yard work, not ride around on an ATV. Investigators said when deputies arrived, the man on the ATV ran into the woods. Deputies pursued about 300 yards away from the home. That’s where investigators said the man overpowered a deputy and stole his weapon.

“Preliminary information suggests that the suspect was overpowering the deputy. The deputy drew his service weapon and fired one round,” said Nelly Miles with the GBI.

Miles said it’s unknown if the man was hit but now armed with the deputy’s weapon, he ran into the woods. She said deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and officers from Social Circle Police Department, rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and troopers with the Georgia State Patrol arrived as back up.

The GBI told FOX 5 News the man was next spotted in a boat he had stolen along Means Creek, which is a wide body of water about a half mile behind the home.

“He exits the boat. He is standing in the water. He turns toward the shoreline and points the weapon in the direction of where the officers were approaching from and at that time the officers fired;” said Mike Ayers, Special Agent in Charge of the Athens Office.

The GBI said a GSP helicopter unit spotted Brooks turning towards the shore and pointing the gun. Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said multiple law enforcement officers were involved in the fatal shooting.

“Six deputies and one Social Circle police officer, so seven total [fired at the suspect],” said Sheriff Chapman.

The GBI said it’s unclear if the man fired his weapon at the law enforcement officers.

“I hate that the deputies and the police officer had to go, be involved in that but that’s why I rely on these people to come in and look at it,” said Sheriff Chapman.

One deputy was injured and transported to an area hospital. The deputy was later released.

The GBI did not give a motive behind Brooks’ behavior. Investigators with the GBI said once the probe into the shooting is finished, it will be handed over to the Walton County District Attorney’s Office for review.