Eyewitness News at 6, 3-28-13

6:21 PM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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<he wouldn't want this to tear us apart... He would want us to stay together.>



That's the sister of a Warner Robins man... who was shot and killed by police after he fired at them first.

In our top story tonight...the district attorney releases his ruling on that case.

Hello everyone, I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

Today... We have official statements from both the district attorney himself, and the chief of police.

Katelyn Heck has been following the story... and has more.

Houston county's district attorney says five warner robins police officers were justified....in using fatal force against Anthony Rawls of Warner Robins.

According to D-A George Hartwig... Officers responded to a March 10th domestic violence call at Rawls' Huntwood Lane home.

Hartwig's statement says...

Officers told Rawls to show his hands and put them up.

He refused ...And instead... raised his gun toward his wife.

Hartwig says Lieutenant Don Edwards rushed toward Rawls to prevent him from shooting his wife.

Rawls and at least one other officer fell through a window... And then Hartwig says Rawls fired eight shots.

That's when five officers shot at him..and hit him multiple times.

One of the officers... Sergeant Mike Fennell was grazed by one of Rawls' shots.

Hartwig says quote...

It is therefore my opinion that the use of deadly force by Warner Robins officers Lieutenant Don Edwards, Sergeant Mike Fennell, Sergeant Tim Gray, Officer Juan Garcia and Officer Casey Mullins was justified under the facts of this case and the laws of the State of Georgia, in that they believed Anthony George Rawls posed 'an immediate threat of physical violence to the officers or others."

Rawls' sister... Miranda Solomon... told me the family has not fully read the report yet... But they don't plan to take any further action....at this time.

<once we look over it, if the family is fine with it, we're fine with it. We have no hard feelings because police were called, so they were doing their job. No one deserves to die, but we don't know the circumstances, we weren't there.>

She told me... Her family has spoken with Rawls' wife since the shooting... But would not discuss her description of what happened that night.

Solomon said her family plans to stay close with Michelle Rawls and the couple's eight children.


Police chief Brett Evans says all five officers have been released from administrative leave And returned to work.

He says he stands by his officers and that they were protecting the lives of those in the house... and their own.

In the mean time... the city of Macon continues to sort out another fatal police shooting.

Bibb County's district attorney ruled that a December shooting... was also justified.

But that case isn't over yet.

as Tom George found out... new rules passed by council could stretch out that investigation even longer.

< I think it was a reaction, and not necessarily one that was well-advised.>

Mayor Robert Reichert says a law passed by City Council changing the Shooting Review Board will delay a result into the investigation of the death of Sammie Davis, Jr.

The law would appoint two citizens to the Shooting Review Board, and would effectively end Captain Jimmy Barbee's role as Internal Affairs Director as of Monday.

The new law requires new I.A. Directors every six months.

While Reichert says he likes some parts of the law, it would also shakeup the police department.

< It would have been my preference to have a stronger citizen review rather than to try to reconstitute the internal affairs division of the police department. I just wanted a citizen review panel to look at it, but City Council passed I think 14-0 and after talking with the police department, we're reconciled to just work with it. >

Councilman Virgil Watkins, who advocated for the new rules, says they're necessary for public involvement.

< I thought the law was important or the new rules for our shooting review board as well as our disciplinary review board were important because they brought the public into the process and created transparency that was needed to bring back the integrity and trust of our police department. >

Watkins says he wanted to create turnover in the Police Department management.

But he's looking forward to a clean slate...when they merge with the Bibb Sheriff's Department in nine months.

< Hopefully in the new consolidated Sheriff's office, there will be an understanding that civility and treating people fairly will be appropriate. >

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

Reichert says he'll select community members to sit on that review board.

Also, Deputy Chief Mike Carswell will choose a new head of internal affairs to replace Captain Jimmy Barbee.

Police Chief Mike Burns remains on medical leave.

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis says he's urging people to help stop gun violence in the city.

Ellis says he supports those who use weapons to protect themselves or their families... But not people with other agendas.

<we have got to make sure that people who should not have guns, don't have guns, and we do that through background checks. We do it through closing the loopholes at this gun show. We make sure the pawn shops in this town will stop selling and buying stolen guns. Some of that is happening as well.>

Ellis says the city should deny permits to gun shows that refuse to do background checks before selling a weapon.

He believes that... Along with community support and interventions... Will keep crimes involving guns down.

Ellis say she's also spoken with police officers who handle those cases.

<what i'm hearing is that, there are just too many guns in our town, and of course they are up against it as well. They are out there putting their lives on the line every day. And I can understand, not that I accept, an officer shooting an unarmed and innocent man, but with the proliferation of guns in our community, I can understand a police officer not knowing who has a gun and what they will do with it because there are so many of them.>

Ellis says he wants to form a community group to rally against gun violence. He says that should include city leaders, clergy, and parents.

Today... Is the day known as Sine Die <see-nay dee-yay>

That's Latin for "without day"...meaning there are no more days left in Georgia's legislative session.

And as lawmakers deliberate over bills still lingering in the house or senate... Including some prominent ones dealing with where Georgians can carry guns...

Randall Savage has been there for the final votes.


Randall Savage...from the Georgia State Capitol.

He'll join us for a late edition of Eyewitness News at 11 to wrap up the final votes. In our web poll today...we asked should the state of Georgia allow people to carry weapons in more public places?

So far... 64 percent of you say yes.... 36 percent say no.

To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.

Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.

While the state budget was also left on the table today at the Capitol... Some civilian workers at military bases will find a little more breathing room within their own budgets. That's because the Pentagon announced today... it will cut the number of unpaid furlough days that civilians will have to take in the next several months from 22 to 14.

As many as 700-thousand workers will be affected.

In other news tonight... they call him the office creeper... and police say he walks right into businesses posing as a maintenance man... and then steals from the people who work there.

Captain Heath Dykes with Perry Police says the man is 54 year old Antonio Hornsby.

He's alledgedly picked up some wallets... While pretending to do jobs like inspecting air filters.

Investigators say Hornsby is a black male, bald and wears glasses. He's 5'11" and weighs around 260 pounds.

They say he's driving a stolen 1994 gold Buick Regal with Georgia tag GA8031.

Dykes says it appears Hornsby worked his way up interstate 75 Wednesday, hitting businesses in Cordele, Perry, Byron and Bibb County.

Hornsby is wanted for business thefts in Athens-Clarke County and Henry County as well.

Investigators say to use caution if you come in contact with Hornsby and to contact your local police.

<Tonight... *Frost Advisory* for most of Central Georgia. Mostly clear with lows in the lower-to-mid 30s.

Friday... Mostly sunny with highs in the mid-to-upper 60s.

Friday Night... Partly cloudy with lows in the lower-to-mid 40s.>

Thanks, John. We'll see you again in a few minutes.

Houston County law enforcement will lose one of its veterans tomorrow.

Colonel Rueben McGhee will retire from the sheriff's office after more than 40 years on the job.

Lorra Lynch Jones talked to McGhee about why he's turning in his badge.

Col. Rueben McGhee sticks to a routine.

<I usually get up around 4:30 every morning.>

He's at his desk by 7:30... Plowing through paperwork... Keeping the job he's held since 1973.

He was 25 then... 66 now.. And about to leave the Houston County Sheriff's Office after four decades.

<ive enjoyed every bit of it.>

But after graduating from Perry High School in the late 60's... he hoped to wear a different uniform.

<I wanted to be a state trooper. (cut out pause) Because I thought state troopers were the best and I wanted to be the best.>

However.. He says the state troopers didn't want him.

<at that time, the wouldn't hire blacks, and I forgot about it.>

He became a deputy... the same year the current sheriff... Cullen Talton... took office.

McGhee worked 19 years on the road... Making a few mistakes.

<had my wreck, totaled out a car, that was one of the moments that really stuck.>

<sheriff Talton... which is the sheriff.>

He didn't get in trouble with the boss...

<no, but I learned from the experience (laughs)>

And moved through the ranks... Retiring as the number three in-charge.

<never crossed my mind about being the sheriff>

He was always thankful to serve and protect... But feels it's time to pass on the honor.

and after 40 years... And those 4:30 a-m wake-up calls who wouldn't be?

He says Monday... He may wake-up at that hour... But his routine will change.

<im gonna lay in bed for awhile.>

In Houston County.. Lorra Lynch Jones.. 13WMAZ.. Eyewitness News.>

McGhee says he looks forward to spending time with his grandchildren and his daughter.

He says she actually beat him to retirement... ending her military career last year.

A cutting edge technology will soon be in the hands, and the eye, of one central Georgian.

Last month, Google opened up a contest to award its upcoming product, "glass"...

to those with a worthy idea of how to use it.

Gray Fire Chief Max Wood was one of thousands who will receive the innovative spectacles

According to Google, "glass" is a wearable computer...designed to help you explore and share your world.

Chief Wood's idea of communicating with firefighters in a blazeearned him the chance to try out the new glasses...


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