Charles Smith, 29, was killed in a police officer-involved shooting in west Savannah Thursday morning. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling the case after the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Julie Tolbert made the request. Officer David Jannot placed on administrative leave.
There are reports that a rally is underway in Savannah to protest the shooting death of Charles Smith.
Here’s the press release from the GBI on Charles Smith’s shooting death:
The initial investigation shows that officers arrested Charles Smith, 29, on outstanding warrants. When the officers placed Smith under arrest he was handcuffed behind his back. The arrest encounter is captured on video. After being placed in the patrol car, Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out the window of the patrol car. The officers said as Smith attempted to exit the patrol car they saw that he had a firearm. This encounter resulted in Smith being shot and killed at the scene. During the crime scene examination, a firearm was found under Smith’s body. This information is based on the GBI’s preliminary investigation. The GBI will continue to thoroughly investigate this incident to determine exactly what occurred. When the investigation is completed, the findings will be turned over to the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
An autopsy on Smith’s body will be done at the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah tomorrow.
Mayor Edna Jackson issued the following statement on the Charles Smith shooting:
“I am distressed at today’s shooting in West Savannah that left one man dead, a family grieving, and a community with many questions. I share many of those questions. There will be answers, but for the moment I ask for patience.
Chief Tolbert immediately brought in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting. That is proper. We must now give authorities time to do their job.
I met today with the victim’s family, and I grieved with them. I spoke with West Savannah residents, and I listened to them. I talked with Police leaders, and relayed our citizens’ concerns while offering support for our officers and the difficult public service they perform every day.
When the answers come, we will be open, transparent and forthcoming. We will remain in continuous communication with the family. For now, I hope the citizens of Savannah will join me in remaining calm and patient as authorities gather the facts.”