- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Georgia homeowner is in critical condition after he was shot in the neck by police responding to the wrong address.

Three Henry County police officers got a call reporting gunshots and a woman screaming in a neighborhood near Stockbridge about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

“Based on the directions given to the police officers there, they wound up at the residence of Mr. Powell,” said Scott Dutton, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting.

The officers arrived and spotted William David Powell, who was armed with a handgun outside his home. An officer shot the 63-year-old in the neck after he refused officers’ orders to drop the weapon, the GBI said.

Mr. Powell, an Air Force veteran and father of three, was taken to Atlanta Medical Center where he is in critical condition as of Thursday morning. His family fears he may be put on life support soon.

Mr. Powell’s mother-in-law, Geraldine Huey, said Mr. Powell saw people outside his home and went for his gun, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“He went to see what the dogs were carrying on about,” said the 85-year-old, who lives next door. “He [picked] up his gun and when he got to the gate, they shot him.

Mr. Powell’s family members said the officers’ version of events is hard to believe, saying Mr. Powell would have dropped his gun if he knew they were police.

Another neighbor, who did not witness the shooting, told the Journal-Constitution that police didn’t do a good enough job identifying themselves.

“I think the police should identify themselves more if they show up at someone’s house in the middle of the night, instead of just shining lights in their windows,” said Darrell Cooper, who has known Mr. Powell for at least 30 years. “He’s a fine man.”

The GBI confirmed that Henry County police responded to the wrong address and that Mr. Powell had nothing to do with the original 911 call. The argument that prompted that call took place at a neighbor’s house, where it was later determined that no shots had been fired, Mr. Dutton said, the Journal-Constitution reported.

“Something got lost in communication,” Mr. Dutton said, adding that it was his “understanding” that the officers properly identified themselves and gave verbal commands.

No officers were injured in the incident. The officer who shot Mr. Powell was placed on paid administrative leave, Henry police Capt. Joey Smith said.

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