ROBERTA, Ga. — District Attorney Anita Howard says a Crawford County deputy acted properly when he shot and killed a suspect this year. In January, Deputy Willam Owenby shot Denrick Stallings after a traffic stop turned violent.
Howard's decision means Owenby will not face charges. District attorney Anita Howard began by explaining the struggle between Denrick Stallings and Deputy William Owenby.
It started with a routine traffic stop in Crawford County, but the deputy says Stallings took off. When Stallings crashed his car, the two men fought. It was captured on Owenby's patrol car dashcam.
"While Owenby and Mr. Stallings were on the ground at the fence, Deputy Owenby could feel Mr. Stallings snatching for his firearm, which was holstered on his gun belt,” Howard explains.
Howard says Stallings was shot four times in the chest at close range. She says DNA shows that both Stallings and Owenby touched the gun, and Howard came to this conclusion.
"I find that Deputy Owenby was justified in using deadly force in the shooting of Denrick Stallings in self-defense in accordance with the law,” Howard explains.
Stallings family and friends were still angry and want justice for Denrick. The family pastor, Charlotte Smith spoke up during Howard's Q&A.
"The DA, she did say that she hopes that this brings closure to the family. It doesn't. This just happened on January the 9th of 2022. Still fresh, still recent,” Smith says.
Elaine Stallings, Denrick's mother, says the officer's account doesn't sound like her son.
"He was not a violent person at all. He was the sweetest child, happy child, he made everybody laugh. He wouldn't do it,” she says.
The Stallings family says they're now pursuing legal action. They say they don't believe the evidence given by the GBI and will do their own investigation, according to their civil rights attorney Lee Merritt.
"There are large gaps in missing relevant information. Most importantly, this department has no excuse to not have body cameras that would've captured what happened. Because of that, the family and the prosecutor's office have had to reply disproportionately on the statements of the shooter,” Merritt explains.
Howard also said Stallings was driving under the influence of alcohol and had marijuana and cocaine in his system. Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker says he expects to decide whether Deputy Owenby will return to the job sometime next week. Owenby has been on paid administrative leave since January.
The Stallings family says they'll hold a memorial service for Denrick on the 28th of this month.