Daily Reports




District Attorney: Officers involved in fatal shooting last December, cleared of any wrongdoing

Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning told WLBB Radio Friday that a Haralson County Deputy and Georgia State Patrolman who fired shots into a truck that was accelerating in their direction, did so in self-defense. The driver of the truck died five months later.

On December 20th, 2021 The GBI reported they were investigating an officer-involved shooting in Haralson County, GA.  The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) and the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) asked the GBI to conduct an independent investigation on Saturday, December 18, 2021.  One man, identified as Willie Lee Austin, age 30, of Olive Branch, Mississippi was reported to be in critical condition. 

Preliminary information indicated that Polk County Police Department officers observed a truck speeding in Polk County, Georgia. A Polk County P.D. officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Austin who was driving the truck. Austin failed to stop, and there was a pursuit through Polk County into Haralson County on GA HWY 27. During the pursuit, multiple agencies assisted, including GSP and HCSO. A Georgia State Patrol trooper performed a PIT maneuver on the truck. While GSP troopers and HCSO deputies approached the truck, the investigation shows that the truck accelerated towards a GSP trooper and HCSO deputy. A GSP trooper and HCSO deputy fired into the truck, shooting Austin. 

Austin was taken to a local hospital for treatment. He died on May 18, 2022 as a result of the officer involved shooting on December 18, 2021. No officers were injured in this incident. A female passenger was also inside the truck. She was not injured during the incident.

District Attorney Browning said “based on the information presented to my office by the GBI, the officers clearly acted in self-defense and we will not be pursuing further action against the officers.”

Austin had been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit a crime in Tunica County, Mississippi in February of 2020. His was out of jail after meeting a $950,000 bond.


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