Auburn PD Chief says officers justified in deadly shooting; fami - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn PD Chief says officers justified in deadly shooting; family takes legal action

Melissa Boarts. (Source: Melinda Boarts) Melissa Boarts. (Source: Melinda Boarts)
AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

The family of a young woman shot and killed Sunday by two Auburn police officers has retained an attorney.

Meanwhile, Auburn Police Chief Paul Register is standing by the two officers involved, saying they acted appropriately.

The family of 36-year-old Melissa Boarts has retained Montgomery attorney Juilan McPhilllps.

Monday, hours after their daughter was shot and killed, McPhillips spoke to News Leader 9 and said the family feels outraged. 

"This life was unnecessarily squashed out, she should be alive today, but instead her parents and sisters are planning her funeral," he said. 

Crumpled police tape dangles from the trees along Red Creek Road in Macon County, marking the location where Boarts was shot and killed.

Auburn's police chief says when she exited her car, she charged the officers with a weapon in a threatening manner, forcing his officers to fire. She died at the scene.

"These are officers that have been here for several years, they are veterans and they have faced difficult situations before and I am very confident and comfortable with their response with what they faced," said Chief Register.

McPhillips says Boarts was armed with a small knife and was no threat to police.
 
"I expect they will try and whitewash it and say she was armed, it was a pocket knife and she is about as big as her twin 5 foot 4, 130 pounds at most. The fact that they shot her is outrageous and asinine and those who provided the equipment and those that did it should be very strongly punished, in my opinion," he said.

Chief Register says the officers were responding to a complaint of a suicidal motorist along Interstate 85 Sunday afternoon. They located her on I-85, following for several miles until she stopped on the dirt road.

"She was very depressed, she may have been suicidal but not all the way," McPhillips said. "That's why her mom called 911 to ask for help to get police help to intercept her and get her to a place for mental health."
       
The SBI is conducting an independent investigation. At this point, they are not releasing the names of the officers involved, nor will they confirm if dash or body cam video of the incident exists.

The case will be presented to the Macon County District Attorney, Chief Register does expect it will go before a grand jury.

"When someone wants to harm themselves and uses law enforcement as a means to do it, it is a tragedy for that family as well as for the officers involved, it's a difficult situation for everybody," said Chief Register.

Chief Registers says the two officers remain on administrative leave with pay until further notice. He says this is the first officer-involved fatal shooting the department has had in his 28 years on the Auburn police force.

The case remains under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigations, Macon County Sheriff’s Department, and Macon County Coroner’s Office. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released a statement on Monday, saying: 

At the request of the Auburn Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is investigating an Auburn Police-involved shooting that occurred April 3 at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Red Creek Road off Interstate 85 in Macon County. The SBI’s findings will be turned over to the Macon County DA. Nothing further is available as the investigation is ongoing.

Boarts' family has issued a statement, saying in part:

It is absolutely outrageous that our precious daughter, Melissa (Boarts), was shot and killed by the Auburn police. There was absolutely no justification for it and we are all in deep mourning.

You can read the full statement here:

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