EXCLUSIVE: Aftermath of officer-involved shooting on video - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

EXCLUSIVE: Aftermath of officer-involved shooting on video

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Neighbors are speaking out after witnessing an officer shooting a man in front of their homes.

The aftermath was caught on camera where you can see police attempting to get the wounded man out of the vehicle. Police say officers shot 29-year-old Towon Earl after noticing he had a weapon in the vehicle.

“His sister was holding a new born baby running to the car and the officer just started shooting for no apparent reason,” says Kimberly Paige, who lives on 28th street and says she was just 10 feet away when Towon Earl was shot by police.

“First thing I did was grab his daughter out the way because she was running towards him," Paige says she wants to know at what point during an encounter with police is it justified for them to shoot.

“I mean we all just wanted to know what just happened. What would make them do something like that? They suppose to make the community safe but they are the ones causing all the problems for us,” she said.

According to Columbus Police Department, officers smelled drugs coming from a car parked on 28th Street. While approaching the car a second officer noticed a weapon.

Chief Boren says when the officers attempted to arrest the suspect the car was thrown into gear, hitting an unmarked police car and then crashing into an apartment. That’s when police say they shot Earl.

Earl was arrested yesterday after he was released from the hospital and is facing several charges including possession of cocaine with intent, theft by receiving a firearm, theft by receiving a vehicle, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, three counts of aggravated assault and endangering safety.

In 2008, Earl was accused of crossing of guard lines with drugs but it was dismissed without prejudice. He pled guilty to no proof of insurance, no state driver’s, possession of marijuana, and giving a false name, address and date of birth to an officer.

Officer Vardman received a head injury and assorted bruises and abrasions when he was dragged by the vehicle being operated by Earl.  He was transported to the Midtown Medical Center where he was treated and released.  Also injured were Officer Michael Aguilar and Corporal Dean Spata who were slightly injured by being struck by the vehicle being driven by Earl. 

Columbus Police Officer Harralson, a five year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave with pay, according to the Columbus Police Department policy. The incident is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the CPD Office of Professional Standards. 

Once this investigation is complete it will be handed over to the District Attorney.

Earl is scheduled to appear in court Thursday at 9 a.m.

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