Sherriff’s deputies who killed an innocent Georgia businessman and grandfather in his own home during a no-knock drug raid were apparently acting on a tip from a known methamphetamine addict.
To make matters worse, the addict had reportedly stolen the man’s car two days before the raid.
Several members of a SWAT team reportedly fired 16 to 18 bullets into David Hooks, 59, at the backdoor to his house in East Dublin, Georgia, around 11 o’clock at night on Sept. 24. Hooks went to the door with a shotgun after his wife Teresa saw several men dressed in camouflage in the couple’s backyard. The men were members of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Response Team (SRT).
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“She saw several men all in black and camo with hoods on,” Mitchell Shook, an attorney for Hooks’ family, said about the shooting. “She ran downstairs, woke David and said, ‘The burglars are back.’”
Man Killed for Defending Home
Hooks’ property had been burglarized in the days before the raid. The day prior to the SWAT raid, a man named Rodney Garrett allegedly came onto the property and stole a Lincoln Navigator. Garrett reportedly also broke into another one of Hooks’ cars.
“David and Teresa were under the impression that the burglars were back and that a home invasion was eminent,” a statement from Shook reads. “David armed himself to protect his wife and his home.”
Shook identified Garrett as a meth addict.
Illegal Warrant Alleged
After his arrest on Sept. 24, Garrett told police that he had found 20 grams of meth in Hooks’ pickup truck. Police used that evidence to get a warrant at 10 p.m. on Sept. 24, just one hour before the raid, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. After the raid, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) searched Hooks’ home for 44 hours and found no drugs, Shook claimed. The lawyer also alleges that the warrant used was illegal and unconstitutional.
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“Despite the fact that the illegal search warrant did not have a ‘no-knock’ clause, the Drug Task Force and SRT members broke down the back door of the family’s home and entered, firing in excess of 16 shots,” Shook wrote. “These shots were from multiple firearms and from both 40 caliber handguns and assault rifles.”
Shook also alleges that the SRT members were planning to kill Hooks.
“Several shots were fired through a blind wall at David with the shooters not knowing who or what was on the other side of the wall,” Shook claimed. “The trajectory of the shots, coupled with the number of shots, infers a clear intent on behalf of the shooters to kill David Hooks.”
Successful Man with Security Clearance Shot
Shook also claims that Hooks was a law-abiding citizen and not a criminal. Among other things, Hooks apparently had a security clearance from the US Department of Defense.
“First, David Hooks was a successful businessman who owned two thriving businesses. His construction company worked on military bases, including Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart,” Shook wrote. “As such, he was vetted and underwent background checks by state and federal authorities including the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Based on those background checks, he was granted a security clearance which allowed him to work on these military bases.”
“This is not a person who needs to be involved in criminal activity for financial gain,” Shook said of Hooks in a statement to The Macon Telegraph. “He did very well financially.”
No statements from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office about the incident are available. The GBI is looking into the shooting and will not release a statement until the investigation is complete. Shook said he is waiting until that investigation is complete to decide whether to file a lawsuit.
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