GBI deadlier than drugs
Posted in the Blairsville Forum
#1 Dec 19, 2009
Thursday, September 3rd 2009 at 1:30pm
By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - A 28-year-old pastor killed by drug task-force agents this week was a father-to-be who settled in a small town where he felt called to the ministry, a relative said Thursday.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said Jonathan Paul Ayers, pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, was not a target of the probe that ended in gunfire at a Toccoa gas station Tuesday.
Authorities said a passenger in Ayers' car, an unidentified woman, was the target of the investigation. The shooting occurred around 2:30 p.m. after authorities said Ayers dropped the woman off at a store in downtown Toccoa.
Bankhead said agents approached Ayers for questioning but the pastor tried to avoid them, putting his car in reverse and striking one of the agents.
A grainy surveillance video from a nearby store shows two drug task-force agents emerge from a black SUV before Ayers' small car backs up. The two men fire into the passenger side of Ayers' car, and then it takes off with the agents running behind it, the video posted on WNEG-TV in Toccoa shows. The gas station owner would not release the video to The Associated Press.
Bankhead said Ayers died about an hour after he had surgery. He said the agent who was hit by Ayers' car was treated for minor injuries.
Bankhead would not reveal the identity of the woman who was in Ayers' car, but said she's been charged with cocaine possession and distribution.
On Thursday, Ayers' brother-in-law Matt Carpenter of Gainesville said the pastor had nothing to do with drugs.
``Any question of his character, particularly involving something like drugs, is just ridiculous,'' he said.
Carpenter described Ayers as a man of strong faith. He said though Ayers and his young wife had wanted to live closer to family, they settled near the Lavonia church where Ayers felt called to pastor.
``They were exactly where they were supposed to be,'' Carpenter said, adding that they had recently led the small congregation's first ever mission trip, to Africa.
Carpenter said Ayers' wife, who is 16 weeks pregnant, is grappling with the idea of being a single mom.
``That's why it's hurting us all so badly,'' he said.
#2 Dec 19, 2009
This is seriously OLD news, it's been discussed on the Atlanta forum since just after the incident. The locals aren't going to care about something that ocurred in "The big ol' town of Atlants"
#3 Dec 19, 2009
***It happened in Toccoa, not Atlanta. GBI Agent Billy Harrison shot the minister in the back as he was driving away. I would be wary of Agent Harrison.*****
Posted: Friday, December 18th 2009 at 3:41pm
Jury finds Lavonia pastor's shooting legally justified
By Katie Highsmith Staff
Surveillance footage of Jonathan Ayers walking into a Toccoa convenience store. He was shot and killed as he left moments later.
TOCCOA - The Stephens County Grand Jury returned a presentment Friday saying that the use of deadly force by Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers who shot and killed a Lavonia minister in September was legally justified.
"Concerning the investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, we find that the investigation was very thorough, complete, unbiased and well-presented," the presentment states.
"Concerning the actions involved in the death of Jonathan Ayers on September 1, 2009, we find that the use of deadly force by Agent Billy Shane Harrison was legally justified based upon his objectively reasonable belief that such use of force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or others. Based upon this finding, we the Grand Jury believe that the officers involved in this incident would be immune from criminal prosecution pursuant to Official Code of Georgia Annotated 16-3-24.2."
The grand jury met in special session beginning Dec. 15 to listen to witness statements, video evidence, photographs, lab reports and additional information contained in the GBI's investigative file in order to make their decision.
Although he was never the subject of a drug investigation, Ayers was shot and killed during botched drug raid as he drove away from a Toccoa convenience store in September.
#4 Dec 19, 2009
So, what is your point?
The "pastor" had a known user in his vehicle - apparently not his wife - strike one.
Second, he avoided GBI when they approached him - strike two.
Third, he backed into an officer - strike three.
If the driver of the vehicle had followed instructions he would be alive today.
No sympathy here, pastor or no pastor.
#5 Dec 19, 2009
Ok, we get it. you don't like the GBI. People shouldn't put themselves in harms way. Whoopdee doo he was pastor.
#6 Dec 20, 2009
1- they were local 'drug task force' agents, not GBI
2- they were not in uniform or a marked vehicle
3- the pastor had just withdrawn a large amount of money from the store's ATM
4- he may have tried to get away because he thought he was being robbed, and the agents put themselves in danger by blocking the way of the moving vehicle
5- a marked vehicle could have been called to make the stop: Toccoa PD, Stephens Co. Sheriff, and GSP were all less than 1 mile away
6- the pastor tried to get to a fire station for help after being shot, why would he have tried to go there if he had something to hide
The shooting was wrong, regardless it being ruled legal and justified.
#7 Dec 20, 2009
I can't believe I actually agree with you on an issue ... will wonders never cease.
#8 Dec 20, 2009
So if your wife and kids are at the gas station getting gas, and a black gangsta Escalade whips in beside them. And two gangstas hop out with guns, reach in a grab her by the neck.
Tell her to give them what they want. Fight the urge to resist.
And if your a nearby witness, quickly put on your bullet proof vest.
This was like a high speed chase after someone with an expired tag in downtown Atlanta rush hour traffic. There's no excuse for this kind of behavior from law enforcement.
#9 Dec 20, 2009
Surveillance Video of shooting...
#10 Dec 20, 2009
You have not researched this case very well.
-The officers had badges around their necks - witnesses verified.
-The officers identified themselves - witnesses at the gas station verified this.
-The video is so bad it is difficult to make assumptions based on the film.
-Why was a coke dealer in the car with the young man in the first place - one who sold coke to undercover officers?
-The women in question is in custody and no one is releasing her name; I'm certain she had shed some light on the situation that encouraged the grand jury to find the officers did not over-react.
-Withdrew a large sum of money at a gas station ATM? Most people don't withdraw large sums of money at gas station ATMS.
-There is much more to this story than meets the eye.
-Why are people so quick to find fault with law enforcement?
-How would anyone know the young man was looking for a fire station?
-GBI or drug task force drive unmarked vehicles and are in civilian clothes.
If the young man avoided the women he had in his car - he would be alive today.
If the young man followed instructions - he would be alive today.
#11 Dec 20, 2009
Doesn't surprise me. Neither one of you has the brains God gave a goose.
#12 Dec 20, 2009
Next time a black escalade pulls up to you and two guys jump out in tee shirts with guns, look and see if you notice the badges or the guns........they dtf guys followed him......they had plenty of time to call a marked car to make the stop. It's simply this, they got too gung-ho and killed an innocent man. LE will cover for LE and the GBI and DA are LE
#13 Dec 20, 2009
The minister was a well-liked, popular preacher in his church and area. Perhaps he was with this young woman as part of his ministering duties. Kind of like a barefoot Jesus among the theives and prostitutes. Maybe we should have grabbed Jesus by the neck and killed him. Oops, we did that.
#14 Dec 20, 2009
If he was innocent then why did he back up and hit the GBI agent and then try to run ???? I wouldn't put my life on the line for a cokehead or any drug dealer, whether ministering them or not.
#15 Dec 20, 2009
And normally ministers minister in a church or a person's home, not in a moving vehicle .... this all sounds very fishy.
#16 Dec 20, 2009
Well-liked minister means nothing when he was in the company of a dealer and user. The prostitute part might be the clue. Men are men, minister or not.
#17 Dec 20, 2009
Well, the GBI has passed the death sentence, and it's over. We've learned a few things here:
-if your Jesus, stay out of Georgia
-shooting out tires is not allowed by LE in GA
-cop badges look alot like bling-blings, especially
when worn by plain clothes thugs brandishing guns
hopping out of drug dealer type vehicles.
-ricochet bullets happen more often than you think
-life can end in an instant, when you least expect it
Just something to think about the next time your standing there pumping gas.
#18 Dec 20, 2009
you live by the sword, you die by the sword.
#19 Dec 20, 2009
"It was first suspected, when he was observed with the target, but was later determined there was no connection to drugs," said Bankhead. "There was another situation involved that we cannot discuss."
The last sentence is very telling .... the target was also involved in prostitution.
#20 Dec 20, 2009
Apparently they couldn't make any drug charges stick against the girl
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