DA will not prosecute officer involved shooting

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Coweta County Judicial Circuit district attorney Herb Cranford will not prosecute local law enforcement officers involved in a fatal civilian shooting at the 100 block of Lower Big Springs Road on June 6. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations reviewed the incident, including interviewing the officers, neighbors and family members of LaGrange resident Robert Dale Sims, 56, viewing body and dash cam and documenting evidence. The GBI always investigates police officer shootings, and takes the full investigation to the district attorney’s office to decide if the incident was justified. The GBI gave its completed review to Cranford on Nov. 2. 

“It is my opinion, based on the totality of the evidence presented in this investigation and information provided by Mr. Sims’s family, that his death was the tragic result of his failure to obey the officers’ commands to drop his weapons and, ultimately, his violent and dangerous acts of pointing and discharging a firearm in a manner that put the officers in reasonable fear for their own safety and the safety of others,” Cranford said in the press release. “I see no violations of the law from any member of law enforcement on the scene that day and I consider this matter closed.”

Officers from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and LaGrange Police Department responded to a call June 6 at 2:13 a.m. about a man who said he shot his wife.

Officers met with LaGrange resident Sims, who was holding guns in both of his hands. Officers told Sims to put his weapons down multiple times, but he eventually started firing at police, Sheriff James Woodruff said in June.

Four of the six officers responded by firing their guns at Sims until they were told to stop, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office. 

Sims was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead at 3:34 a.m., according to the district attorney’s press release.

Officers entered the residence to look for Sims’ wife, Kathryn, but could not find anyone. It was later discovered that she had died 14 months before in a vehicle wreck where he was the driver.

According to the press release, Sims’ family members and neighbors said he was depressed after the accident and had been abusing drugs and alcohol. According to the press release, officers discovered lines of suspected cocaine in the kitchen and a beer. According to the toxicology report, cocaine was in Sims system.

Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said all of his officers involved in the incident were out of work for a couple of days. 

“They went out for a few days, and they came back to me and said that they were ready to return to work and they were fit for duty,” Woodruff said. “I put them back to it.”

 Woodruff said Tuesday that he was pleased that the TCSO can more forward now.

“The district attorney can obviously look over the findings of the GBI, which I was confident from the very start that they would be justified,” Woodruff said. 

“As unfortunate as it was — it was tragic — I had full confidence in the officers, and they did what they had to do.”