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Third Bullet Fired At Rayshard Brooks Hit Car With Children Inside, Attorney Says
Attorney L. Chris Stewart said a stray bullet fired by an Atlanta officer struck a nearby car with children inside that could have resulted in "another loss of life" had it been just a few feet higher.
On the night an Atlanta police officer opened fire on Rayshard Brooks, striking the 27-year-old in the back with two bullets, a third stray bullet hit a car with children inside, according to an attorney for the Brooks family.
L. Chris Stewart, the attorney representing the Brooks family, said in a press conference Monday that others also came dangerously close to being killed Friday night outside a Wendy’s restaurant.
“Let me tell you and show you why shooting in a crowded parking lot is so reckless and so unnecessary for what (Brooks) did,” Stewart said during the press conference while holding up a photo of a bullet hole in a white car, according to the New York Post.
Stewart said a witness “sent us his vehicle” which had allegedly been struck by one of the bullets fired by now-former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe.
The witness had been driving with his children in the car, Stewart said.
“A couple of feet up and we would have had another loss of life,” he said. “So, try to justify the action of shooting at Mr. Brooks as he’s running away in a crowded Wendy’s parking lot when you could easily catch him later for what started off as a very non-confrontational situation.”
Brooks was killed Friday night after Atlanta police had been called to a Wendy’s parking lot. Brooks had fallen asleep in his vehicle and was stopped in the drive-thru lane of the fast food restaurant when Officer Devin Brosnan first approached him.
After getting Brooks to pull his car into a nearby parking space, Brosnan and Rolfe administered a field sobriety test on Brooks, who admitted drinking at his daughter’s birthday, according to body camera footage.
The officers attempted to arrest Brooks but a struggle ensued and Brooks fled on foot after taking one of the officer’s tasers, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
A surveillance camera outside the Wendy’s showed Brooks running from the officers and then turning back and appearing to point the taser in Rolfe’s direction. Rolfe fired his gun, striking Brooks in the back.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office announced Sunday that Brooks, a father of four, died after suffering organ damage and blood loss from the two gunshot wounds.
Stewart has argued that there was no reason to kill Brooks and said a Taser was not a deadly weapon.
“It can’t be justified,” he said, according to The Post. “It cannot be justified, otherwise we’re going to continue to lose lives from stray bullets shooting at someone that shouldn’t never been shot at.”
Nelly Miles, public affairs director for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told Oxygen.com that authorities did not have “any evidence” to support Stewart’s claim that a third bullet struck a nearby car.
Miles said, however, that agents did recover three shell casings at the scene.
She urged “any witnesses that have additional information about this or any aspect of the case” to call the GBI and speak with investigators.
Shortly after Brooks’ death, Rolfe was fired from the police department. He could also face criminal charges in the case.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN on Sunday the possible charges could include murder, felony murder or involuntary manslaughter.
“(Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable,” he said.
Brosnan has been placed on administrative duty while the investigation continues.