A Georgia SWAT team shot and killed an armed homeowner during a September 24 drug raid sparked by the word of a self-confessed meth addict and burglar who had robbed the property the previous day. No drugs were found. David Hooks, 59, becomes the 34th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.
According to WMAZ TV 13, the Laurens County sheriff’s drug task force and SWAT team invaded Hooks’ home in East Dublin on the evening of the 24th.
David Hooks’ wife, Teresa, looked outside and saw people with hoods on outside their home, she then woke up her husband. Hooks armed himself, because he thought that the burglar or burglars who had struck his home just two nights earlier had returned.
When the raiders burst through the back door of the residence, they encountered Hooks carrying a shotgun. Multiple deputies opened fire, shooting and killing Hooks.
Hooks was a successful businessman who ran a construction company that, among other things, did work on US military bases. Hooks had passed background checks and had a security clearance.
The search warrant to raid Hooks’ home came about after a local meth addict named Rodney Garrett came onto the property two nights earlier and stole one of Hooks’ vehicles.
Garrett claimed that before he stole the vehicle, he broke into another vehicle on the property and stole a plastic bag. Garrett claimed he thought the bag contained money, but when he later examined it and discovered it contained 20 grams of meth and a digital scale, he “became scared for his safety” and turned himself in to the sheriff’s office.
Hooks’ family, however, said that Garrett had been identified as the burglar and a warrant issued for his arrest the day after the burglary. He was arrested the following day; the raid happened that same night.
Garrett’s claims were the primary basis for the search warrant. Hooks family attorney Mitchell Shook said:
“David and Teresa were under the impression that the burglars were back and that a home invasion was imminent,” the family said in a statement. “David armed himself to protect his wife and his home. Despite the fact that the illegal search warrant did not have a ‘no knock’ clause, the Drug Task Force and SRT members broke down the back door of the family’s home and entered firing in excess of 16 shots. These shots were from multiple firearms and from both 40 caliber handguns and assault rifles. Several shots were fired through a blind wall at David with the shooters not knowing who or what was on the other side of the wall. The trajectory of the shots, coupled with the number of shots infers a clear intent on behalf of the shooters to kill David Hooks.”
Nor was there any evidence he was involved in drugs. As Shook emphasized, after the shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an intensive 44-hour search of the property and came up with not one item of contraband.
Hooks’ family is called on the Laurens County district attorney to do its own investigation of the killing after he receives the GBI’s report and “take whatever action the law and justice demands.” It is also calling on Sheriff W.A. “Bill” Harrell to immediately suspend all the officers involved until the investigations and any prosecutions are settled.