The family and attorney of a Georgia man, killed by Laurens County sheriff’s deputies, said Wednesday that the police account of how David Hooks was killed stands in “stark contrast” to the truth.
Hooks' family attorney, Mitch Shook, said he and Hooks’ widow, Teresa Hook, hope to get the truth out about what happened the night David Hooks was killed.
Police say David Hooks pointed a shotgun at the them when they entered his home. Shook said that is only part of the story.
“It’s a true tragedy,” Shook told The Telegraph, a Macon, Georgia, newspaper. “It’s hard to imagine how this could happen to these people who have been married 25 years.”
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Shook said David Hooks was asleep in his bed the night of Sept. 24 when Laurens County deputies arrived at his home to execute a search warrant, looking for methamphetamine.
Authorities obtained the search warrant earlier in the day after a man who reportedly admitted to stealing Hooks’ Lincoln Aviator turned himself into police. The man, Rodney Garrett, is said to have told police in Dublin, Georgia, he stole a bag, he believed to contain money, from a pickup truck in Hooks’ driveway before stealing the Aviator. Garrett allegedly told authorities that when he realized the bag actually contained a large amount of methamphetamine he got scared and decided to turn himself in.
Acting on this information, police decided they should search Hooks’ other vehicles as well as his home.
Shook claims that when deputies arrived on Hooks property at 11 p.m. with their search warrant, they didn’t make their presence known.
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“The drug task force and the Laurens County Sheriff's response team arrived at David and Teresa Hooks' home unannounced by emergency lights or sirens,” he said.
Teresa Hooks heard the police outside and looked out a window. She said she believed that whoever had stolen the Aviator had come back.
“She saw several men all in black and camo with hoods on,” Shook said. “She ran downstairs, woke David and said, ‘The burglars are back.’”
David Hooks then retrieved a gun but what happened after that is unclear.
Shook said police broke down a back door to raid the home but never announced themselves.
“The task force and the SRT members broke down the back door of the family's home and entered, firing an excessive sixteen shots. There is no evidence that David Hooks ever fired a weapon,” he said.
When the shooting stopped, Hooks was dead.
WMAZ reports that an initial release from the Sheriff’s office claims the officers did knock on the door and announce who they were.
Shook said he doesn’t believe that police, acting on the word of admitted burglar, had enough probable cause to obtain the warrant in the first place. He described the warrant as “invalid.” Furthermore, he questioned the wisdom of executing that warrant, unannounced, so late at night.
Shook said the subsequent investigation found no drugs on Hooks’ property.
“This is not a person who needs to be involved in criminal activity for financial gain. He did very well financially,” Shook said of David Hooks.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) is investigating the shooting. Shook said he will wait for the results of that investigation before deciding to file a civil or wrongful death suit on the family’s behalf.
Garrett has since been charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and other charges.