WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — State authorities said they’re investigating after a Georgia police officer opened fire Saturday morning at a vehicle with at least two teenagers inside during an attempted traffic stop.
Nobody was injured by the gunshots in Waycross near the Georgia-Florida state line, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. But the agency said in a news release that a 15-year-old boy was treated for minor injuries after an altercation with an officer.
Five children — ages 16, 15, 14, 12 and 9 — were in the vehicle alone when a Waycross officer witnessed a moving violation by the driver, the GBI said. The vehicle stopped and the three younger children got out and ran and the officer began to follow them.
A second officer approached the vehicle from the front when it began driving toward him, the GBI said. That officer fired multiple shots at the vehicle, with the 16- and 15-year-old boys still inside.
“They shot at a car full of unarmed minors. A car full of unarmed children,” Dominique Goodman Sr., who identified himself as the children’s father, told WJXT-TV.
Goodman said the children were coming home from Walmart when an officer began following them in his patrol car. He said the younger children got out and tried to run home to alert him and he stepped outside after hearing them screaming.
“We open the door, we see my 9-year-old, my 12-year-old and a 14-year-old running from the police behind them with gunshots coming behind them,” Goodman said. “We go down the street and we see our 15-year-old and our 16-year-old on the ground.”
GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said she did not know the races of the children or the officer who opened fire.
Atlanta attorney Gerald Griggs, as vice president of the city’s NAACP chapter, said the organization is calling for police to immediately release body camera and dash camera footage of the attempted traffic stop.
“I’m very concerned that shots were fired while children were involved,” Griggs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re concerned that level of force was used.”