GBI investigates officer involved shooting; suspect killed

July 4, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX) - Police officers on the scene of Friday morning's shooting try to comfort two of their own, Officers H. Dawson and Richard Patterson, who made the split second decision to fire their weapons, killing 26-year-old Columbus resident Kenneth Bynum.

"It's unfortunate for the officers... psychologically we don't know what effect it has on an officer when they have to take a life," said Columbus Chief of Police Ricky Boren.

According to Boren, around 6:30 this morning, Bynum opened fire on Officer Dawson while he was driving east along Cusseta road near 17th Avenue.

Dawson requested backup and Officer Patterson was one of the officers who quickly arrived on the scene.

Both men got out of their cars and approached the suspect with their weapons drawn.

"They pulled back up there, and made multiple demands to drop weapon.  They guy advanced with the weapon, and they raised their weapon, and fired simultaneously," said Chief Boren.

Bynum was taken to the Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:09 AM

Nobody knows why exactly Bynum, a former taxi driver for City Cab, starting shooting at Dawson in his police car.

Bynum lived just a couple hundred yards away in an apartment on 17th Avenue, with his uncle.

"We don't know what was going on with the suspect or what made him fire on the officers. The officers were not looking for the individual when it took place," said Chief Boren.

Investigators did soon learn Bynum had two warrants out for his arrest.

As standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, the case will now be taken over by the GBI, and the city's Office of Professional Standards will also do their own investigation into if Officers Dawson and Patterson had reason to fire their weapons.

Officer Dawson is new to the force.

The other officer, Richard Patterson, has served fewer than five years.

Both officers will be put on paid administrative leave until the GBI issues their report. They are waiting on autopsy results as well as more interviews with witnesses on the scene.

Count on News Leader 9 and to keep you posted on the latest developments.