MOULTRIE, Ga. — A Moultrie resident was shot by police officers Wednesday after he allegedly shot at them during a standoff.
Moultrie police responded to a 911 call at 1402 West Blvd. in reference to an individual threatening his father and a second individual with a knife late Wednesday afternoon, according to a statement by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is leading the investigation into the shooting.
When officers arrived, the man — later identified as Bernard Lynn Patterson, age 50 — confronted them with a deer rifle, the GBI said.
“After hours of attempting to get him to put the gun down, during which time he pointed the rifle at officers several times, it is believed he pointed the rifle and fired at least one round at the officers and they returned fire,” the statement said.
Patterson was shot at least once and was transported via Air Med to Tallahassee where he is in stable condition as of last report, the GBI said late Thursday morning.
At about 11:37 p.m. , Moultrie Police Chief Sean Ladson requested GBI assistance into the use of force investigation.
Officers from the Moultrie Police Department, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office and Thomas County Sheriff’s office were involved, the GBI said. No officers were injured in the incident.
This investigation is active and ongoing. When the GBI completes the investigation, the agency’s findings will be turned over to the Colquitt County District Attorney’s Office for review.
The Observer left a voice mail message for Ladson but it has not been returned. Typically, once the GBI is called in, most information on a case must come through their office.
This is the third officer-involved shooting in Colquitt County in just over two years and the fourth involving Moultrie officers since 2006. All those previous shootings have been fatal.
On Sept. 6, 2018, two Moultrie police officers and Colquitt County sheriff’s deputies were assisting probation officers in checking on their probationers, according to a description of the event released by the DA’s office earlier this year. The two Moultrie officers were at a trailer park near Berlin when Nick Warnell fled in an SUV and they gave chase.
Once the SUV stopped, the officers approached, but Warnell drove away with one of the officers trapped in the V of his open door. The officer was dragged alongside the vehicle and was injured before getting free.
Warnell pulled a rifle, and the other officer fired his handgun at him. Warnell drove a short distance away then fired at the two officers but did not hit them.
Warnell drove away from that scene but soon encountered a Colquitt County sheriff’s deputy on Cannon Road. The deputy turned to pursue Warnell’s SUV, and Warnell pulled to the side of the road and fired his rifle at him. The deputy returned fire, and Warnell drove away.
Warnell’s SUV was found a short distance away in the woods. He was dead in the driver’s seat, and an autopsy later identified the fatal shot as having come from the deputy’s rifle.
In March, a Colquitt County grand jury ruled the shooting justified.
The earlier shootings were also considered justified.
On Feb. 4, 2017, a Colquitt County deputy responded to a report of domestic violence on Blackberry Lane. The GBI said the deputy tried to speak with Peter Torres, a resident there. Torres threw things at the deputy then charged him, and the deputy shot him once in the chest. Torres died almost two weeks later.
On Sept. 5, 2011, a Moultrie police officer serving on the unified city-county SWAT team shot Walter Wayne Peterson during entry into Peterson’s house. Peterson attacked an MPD officer with a knife when the officer came to his residence to question him about a broken window at a nearby convenience store. That officer retreated and called for backup, and Peterson barricaded himself inside his house. The SWAT team had thought Peterson was disabled by a Taser strike when they burst into the house, but he came at them with a knife, according to reports at the time.
Peterson was known to have mental challenges, and this incident spurred the Moultrie Police Department to add Crisis Intervention Training from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to its training regimen — for which it later received an award from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Prior to that, on Nov. 16, 2006, another mentally challenged man, Willie Banks, was shot by officers attempting to arrest him on a theft charge. They confronted Banks at the convenience store where he worked and he ran out the door, but as they came out in pursuit, Banks turned around and pulled out a knife, according to reports at the time. Three officers were present; one fired twice and another attempted to fire but his weapon jammed.