Georgia Man Killed in Drug Raid Was Face Down When Shot in Head, Says Family's Lawyer

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David Hooks, the Georgia man killed in a SWAT raid on his East Dublin home in September, was shot in the head and back while face down on the ground, according to his family’s attorney, Mitchell Shook, who cited EMS and hospital records as evidence. David Hooksfamily photo

As reported by WMEZ-TV:

“One was to the side of the head, the other, was in his back, the back of his left shoulder, based on the evidence we see, we believe that David Hooks was face down on the ground when he received those last two shots,” says Shook.

http://zeeklytv.com/player/embed_player.php?vid=8625&width=640&height=340&autoplay=yes

Shook says they have not received the autopsy yet from the GBI.

As noted by Reason’s Ed Krayewski, the raid was based on a tip from Rodney Garrett, a local meth addict who had just stolen a car from Hooks’ property. According to the warrant, Garrett told police he removed a bag from the stolen vehicle believing it held cash, but instead discovered it was filled with meth. Apparently fearful he just robbed a local drug kingpin, he turned himself in because he “became scared for his safety.”

The theft of one of their vehicles naturally made the Hooks household edgy that night, and David kept a shotgun in the house. Though the warrant did not contain a “no knock” provision, Hooks’ wife, Teresa, says that the Laurens Country sheriff’s deputies and their SWAT compatriots simply busted down their back door and charged in, guns blazing.

In an interview with WMEZ-TV, Hooks recalls the night her husband was killed:

“Between 10:30 and 11, I turned the light off upstairs. I heard a car coming up the driveway really fast, and I looked up the upstairs window. I saw a black vehicle with no lights. I saw 6 to 8 men, coming around the side of my house, and I panicked. I came running downstairs, yelling for David to wake up. He was in the bedroom asleep, had been for about an hour and a half. When I got downstairs to the bottom of the stairs, he opened the door and he had a gun in his hand, and he said, ‘Who is it?,’ and I said I didn’t know. He stepped back into the bedroom like he was going to grab his pants, but before he could do that, the door was busted down. He came around me, in the hall, into the den, and I was gonna come behind him, but before I could step into the den the shots were fired, and it was over.”

According to Shook, the Hooks’ home was searched for more than 44 hours with no drugs or contraband found. But as the Drug War Chronicle reported:

Investigators also claimed they were familiar with the address from a 2009 investigation in which a suspect claimed he had supplied ounces of meth to Hooks, who resold it. Nothing apparently ever came of that investigation, but the five-year-old uncorroborated tip made it into the search warrant application.

The toxic combination of a “five year-old uncorroborated tip,” a vague accusation from a confessed car thief and meth addict, and a recently robbed man reacting to a violent intrusion on his home created the conditions that led to the 17 shots fired by law enforcement that night.

In a statement that is becoming all too familiar, Shook said he hopes the Laurens County District Attorney will take the case to a grand jury and not solely rely on law enforcement’s take of the deadly raid.

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A Georgia SWAT team shot and killed an armed homeowner during a September 24 drug raid sparked by the word of a self-confessed meth addict and burglar who had robbed the property the previous day. No drugs were found. David Hooks, 59, becomes the 34th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to WMAZ TV 13, Laurens County sheriff’s deputies with the drug task force and special response team (SWAT team) conducted a no-knock search on Hooks’ home in East Dublin on the evening of the 24th. When the raiders burst through the back door of the residence, they encountered Hooks carrying a shotgun. Multiple deputies opened fire, shooting and killing Hooks.According to his family, Hooks was not a drug user or seller, but was a successful businessman who ran a construction company that, among other things, did work on US military bases. Hooks had passed background checks and had a security clearance.

The search warrant to raid Hooks’ home came about after a local meth addict named Rodney Garrett came onto the property two nights earlier and stole one of Hooks’ vehicles. Garrett claimed that before he stole the vehicle, he broke into another vehicle on the property and stole a plastic bag. Garrett claimed he thought the bag contained money, but when he later examined it and discovered it contained 20 grams of meth and a digital scale, he “became scared for his safety” and turned himself in to the sheriff’s office.

Hooks’ family, however, said that Garrett had been identified as the burglar and a warrant issued for his arrest the day after the burglary. He was arrested the following day; the raid happened that same night.

Garrett’s claims were the primary basis for the search warrant. But investigators also claimed they were familiar with the address from a 2009 investigation in which a suspect claimed he had supplied ounces of meth to Hooks, who resold it. Nothing apparently ever came of that investigation, but the five-year-old uncorroborated tip made it into the search warrant application.

And it was enough to get a search warrant from a compliant magistrate. Hooks family attorney Mitchell Shook said that even though the warrant was not a no-knock warrant, the Laurens County SWAT team did not announce its presence, but just broke down the back door of the residence.

Shook said David Hooks’ wife, Teresa, looked outside and saw people with hoods on the evening of the raid and woke up her husband. Fearing the burglar or burglars who had struck two nights earlier had returned, Hooks armed himself.

“David and Teresa were under the impression that the burglars were back and that a home invasion was imminent,” the family said in a statement. “David armed himself to protect his wife and his home. 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. These shots were from multiple firearms and from both 40 caliber handguns and assault rifles. 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. The trajectory of the shots, coupled with the number of shots infers a clear intent on behalf of the shooters to kill David Hooks.”

“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” said Shook.

Nor was there any evidence he was involved in drugs. As Shook emphasized, after the shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an intensive 44-hour search of the property and came up with not one item of contraband.

Hooks’ family is called on the Laurens County district attorney to do its own investigation of the killing after he receives the GBI’s report and “take whatever action the law and justice demands.” It is also calling on Sheriff W.A. “Bill” Harrell to immediately suspend all the officers involved until the investigations and any prosecutions are settled.

East Dublin, GA

United States
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