New Details About Police Involved Shooting

GCPD says James Clark walked towards officers with a rifle pointed towards them after several requests for him to put his weapon down.


Lawrenceville Patch has obtained new information about Thursday evening's on Trophy Trail in unincorporated Lawrenceville.

According to Cpl. Jake Smith, officers responded to a call from a friend of James Clark saying Clark was suicidal. The friend told dispatchers Clark had cut himself with a knife and was armed with a gun and had already fired two shots. Clark told his friend he needed to leave because it was not safe for him to be there.

The first officers arrived to the home at 556 Trophy Trail at 6:41pm. Eight minutes later, Smith says Clark came out of his home holding a deer rifle with a mounting scope. Officers attempted to negotiate with Clark for the next 14 minutes and ordered him to drop his weapon several times. Clark did put down the rifle at one point, but picked it up again moments later. The man then climbed on to the roof of a car outside the carport and began yelling at the officers.

At 7:03pm, Clark started walking towards the officers with his rifle pointed at them. Two officers fired shots and killed Clark.

About 15 minutes later, Clark's parents and brother arrived on the scene very upset. In a release, Smith said "the family’s behavior was given special consideration due to the circumstances." Clark's mother tried to go around the police tape after being refused entry to the crime scene several times by officers. She was taken away from the scene but not arrested.

However, Clark's brother Robert and father Thomas shouted profanities and threats to the officers on the scene. After this continued, and charged with disorderly conduct. They were released from the Gwinnett County Detention Center just before 1am Friday.

GCPD says the two officers who fired the shots have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in officer involved shootings.

An investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Deadly Force Investigation Team, which consists of investigators from the Internal Affairs Unit, the Homicide Unit, the Crime Scene Unit, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office.

In January, GCPD officers were .

Do you think the officers should have fired the shots that killed Clark? Tell us in the comments section below.

JaeRo April 27, 2012 at 07:15 PM
No, they definitely should not have killed James Clark, there should have been a better solution than to shoot and kill him. I knew James Clark and he was a very good person and a friend of mine. My prayers go out to his family, and especially his 3-year old daughter and wife who are now fatherless and a widow. R.I.P. James
Gthgpd April 27, 2012 at 08:01 PM
There was another way they could've handled it for sure shoot to injure or something they fired multiple shots. Which was unnecessary he was suffering. He never intended on hurting anyone. He wanted help from his state of mind. Praying for the family. Gwinnett county needs to be investigated this isn't right!!
kah300 April 27, 2012 at 09:34 PM
The handling of this situation by the GCPD was dusgusting. First, why weren't tasers used first? Two, if special consideration was given to the family members, why were they arrested? How do you think loved ones were going to act? If you handcuff them, just simply put the son and father in squad cars so they can cool down. Why arrest them and add insult to injury?
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) April 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Prayers go out to his family first and foremost.
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) April 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Do you think Clark may have walked towards the police with the gun so they would kill him so he wouldn't have to commit suicide? In the 911 call I posted, the friend said Clark had tried to cut himself already.
Alex Everett April 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Sorry for the family, but life sucks when you aim a rifle at a police officer.
Alex Everett April 29, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Why shoot to injure when someone has a rifle aimed at you? Have you ever tried to hit someone's leg with a gun? If it were my family member, I'd wonder where I went wrong with him, not the cops.
Stacie April 30, 2012 at 07:47 PM
How would you like it if you were the police officers loved ones and killed by a rifle toting crazy man? If a rifle is pointed at me- I'm shooting!
RK May 02, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Trigger happy Gwinnett's finest has another notch under their belts...I guess proper training in all facets of an officers job was somehow kicked to the curb along the way? According to the various reports, logistically, it doesn't add up this man warranted being shot and killed. I am not going to argue semantics and antics..I just say this county becomes less and less appealing to call myself a citizen of, this is just more to add to why I want to move my law abiding, tax paying, productive business owning family away from here. Enjoy what your becoming Gwinnett, . I also think they way this young mans family was treated is utterly and inexcusably, disgusting!! Hope when these officers loved ones find themselves facing a tragedy one day, as it always ends up, finds decency among those people dealing with them..they sure didn't have any. If this man already failed at attempted suicide with an loaded gun, then surely he truly didn't want death, and surely, he didn't want the death of another human(ie: officer/neighbor/bystander). Maybe officers training might want to incorporate psych 101. Again, hope one of your children's blood doesn't run off anothers hands one day, and if it does, hope your despair is not stifled with handcuffs and a jail cell. What animals.
KB2 May 24, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Thanks J!! James is a very good person, he was just mentally unstabled, he was going threw a tough time in his life. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, they need to know what happen, the media has not reported everything that has happen, they are getting statements from the police of which they are not telling the whole story. There is big doubt that it was a rifle and instead it was a bebe gun. He grabbed the bebe when he went outside and we know that for a FACT due to someone was with him. The police did not wait for the apporiate people to get there that deal with these situations, they took actions on there own, they should have back off and waited. Also they shot to kill, they did not shot to disarm or wound him, they shot to kill. They knew they were responding to a suicide but they show up with high powered assulat rifles, with all the tax money they have, why not show up with rubber bullets? So please before you make a comment that can be hurting toward the family, please know the truth, hasnt the family been threw enough?
GF May 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM
You are (Heartless).He was somebody's LOVE one. My friend was suicidal and wouldn't have hurt anyone but himserlf. The 911 call was to get help for him not KILL him... James was shot in the head, neck, shoulder,across his chest, Hip and his right arm was almost severed off..Now who was the rifle toting crazy MEN...The (GCPD) James never used the gun...
DEBORAH STORM May 25, 2012 at 02:25 AM
this was definitely abuse of power. The police dept. should have had trained cops who know how to deal with the mentally ill onsite and swat. I know for a fact that they have the capability. This is the 3rd fatal shooting in gwinnett by cops in the last 6 mos. how many more have to die at the hands of Gwinnett Co PD before people pay attention? suicide is no different than any other illness...if you have cancer you get treatment, if you are suicidal, you get treatment. you are not supposed to be killed on the spot. I want to know why gwinnett co pd got involved in a case in walton and stayed ALL NITE LONG for a suicidal man when they only took 15 min. to shoot and kill JAMES CLARK? i know, i was on site at the suicidal person's home in walton...now why did gwinnett spend money going to walton to help with police, dogs, helicopters from approx 9 pm until 7 am? but they only take 15 min of time on this case? he did not have a real gun, he had a bb gun. i don't think for a minute that he pointed a real gun at any officer. just another case of bad judgement on the PD's part as in the CHRISTOPHER KENNEY and DAWNTRAE WILLIAMS case. wake up GWINNETT before your child, brother, sister is next.
DEBORAH STORM May 25, 2012 at 02:27 AM
the case in walton county that i referred to previously, the man was unharmed and not even arrested. WHAT IS WRONG WITH GWINNETT CO PD NOWADAYS? did they just overspend their budget on funds for utilities for the fancy courthouse? now they shoot to kill rather than do the right thing?
Alex Everett May 25, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Shoot-to-kill IS the right thing, when a suspect is a threat to your safety. I've never heard THAT much stupidity from one person. Good job, Deborah.
DEBORAH STORM May 25, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Alex.....will see what happens in the three investigations of fatal shootings in such a short time frame, then see whos stupid. I do not believe the officers were threatened in all three cases
Vanzetta Evans (Editor) May 25, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Look at this photo from the GCPD training members of the media took part in. He's holding two guns. One's his son's toy rifle an the other is the GCPD issued riffle. The only way you can tell the difference is the orange tip on the toy. But he said there have been times where a suspect will paint the tip on the toy black or the tip of the real one orange. They also explained why they can't just shoot someone in the arm or leg. http://lawrenceville-ga.patch.com/articles/taser-demonstration#photo-9905658


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