A letter from Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson stated four law enforcement officers involved in the shooting death of a Cedartown woman who fired a pistol at them were justified in their actions.
The shooting incident which killed Kimberley Rae McCann took place on May 7, 2018, at the intersection of U.S. 411 and the Ga. 1 Loop and involved two Floyd County police officers, one sheriff’s deputy and a Georgia State Patrol trooper.
The letter sent to Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, Floyd County Police Department Chief Mark Wallace and Col. Mark McDonough, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, on April 23 stated there was no evidence from a GBI investigation to support any form of criminal prosecution.
The letter not only discussed the shooting itself but also a conflict between McCann and police in Polk County the day earlier at her home where she had acted very erratically.
According to the letter and a Floyd County Police Department Firearms Review Board finding:
She had told a Veterans Administration crisis center counselor “she wanted to kill herself, that she had weapons, and if the police came to her home that she would shoot them.”
The counselor told a Polk County officer they had calmed her down and got her to agree to a safety plan and to follow up with a doctor.
On the day of the shooting, a Cave Spring police officer noted McCann speeding through a school zone in her Toyota truck and attempted a traffic stop. She didn’t stop and at one point ran over stop sticks damaging at least one tire on her vehicle.
GSP Trooper Jamie Mitchell attempted to perform a Pursuit Intervention Technique maneuver and the letter stated “in reviewing the videos, it was clear that McCann drove her truck in the direction of the GSP patrol vehicle, in an attempt to sideswipe it and thwart the PIT maneuver.”
She finally stopped near the convenience store at U.S. 411 and Mathis Road. Officers blocked her vehicle and gave repeated commands for her to show her hands.
She didn’t respond. Responding officers moved in and after several attempts broke the driver’s side window and unlocked the door. Mitchell then saw McCann had a gun and she pointed it toward him and Floyd County police officer Chris Shelly.
“Trooper Mitchell saw the muzzle flash and heard the gun fire once as he was moving towards the right of the driver’s door,” the letter stated. “As Shelly was pulling her towards the door, he heard a ‘pop’ and felt the muzzle blast near his forehead. The blast knocked Shelly’s sunglasses from his head.”
They drew their weapons and gave commands for McCann to drop the gun, a Ruger LPC .380 pistol. She complied.
“At this point McCann was given a command to show officers her hands, but instead she reached for another gun that was beside her,” the letter stated.
Shelly and Mitchell were at the driver’s side of the vehicle. Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy Devin Womack was at the rear passenger side of the truck, Floyd County police officer Leonard Whaley was positioned at the rear of the truck.
She grabbed a silver Smith & Wesson .357 revolver and pointed it toward Shelly and Mitchell, the letter stated. Mitchell warned her to put the gun down but “she continued to move the gun in their direction.”
At that point all four men opened fire, most said they fired once or twice. Womack told investigators he fired approximately four rounds and stopped firing “when McCann was no longer reaching for the revolver anymore.”
The autopsy report stated McCann’s cause of death as “multiple gunshot wounds.” The report also showed she had a blood alcohol concentration of .14 and several other medications in her system. In Georgia, a driver is considered impaired at 0.08.
“These officers were completely justified in the actions they took in responding to a dangerous situation and in protecting themselves and others,” Patterson wrote in the letter.
Both Sheriff Tim Burkhalter and Floyd County police Chief Mark Wallace said officers were cleared after internal reviews of their actions. A Firearms Review Board report from the Floyd County Police Department on June 7, 2018, stated both officers, Shelly and Whaley, did not violate department policy or Georgia law.
“Officers Shelly and Whaley’s life, along with the lives of other officers and the public, were in immediate danger and they had no other option but to utilize lethal force,” the board concluded.