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Athens Police Shoot and Kill Man During Stolen Car Investigation

The Smokey Road scene where police exchanged gunfire with Clinton Eli Burkhalter. Credit: GBI

Athens-Clarke County police shot and killed a man who they said pointed a gun at them while investigating a stolen car report in northeastern Clarke County.

Police located a stolen car in the driveway of a home off Smokey Road late Friday night, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. While trying to locate someone at the home, two officers encountered two men in a shed.

One of the men—identified by GBI as Clinton Eli Burkhalter, 42—had his hands behind his back and refused to show them to the officers. He then put a gun to his head, fired several shots at the ceiling and came out of the shed with the gun pointed at the officers, according to GBI.

The two officers shot Burkhalter, who fell down with the gun still in his hand, so the officers stayed behind cover until backup arrived. EMS pronounced Burkhalter dead at the scene.

Burkhalter was on 12 years’ probation for failing to register as a sex offender related to a 1999 statutory rape conviction, according to Classic City News.

The ACC Police Department did not release the names of the officers involved, but said they were not injured and have been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

As is standard when an officer shoots someone, ACCPD turned the case over to GBI for investigation. Once complete, the results will be sent to the Western Circuit District Attorney’s office to decide whether to prosecute. ACCPD’s Office of Professional Standards is also reviewing the shooting.