Juvenile, 16, pulls trigger on F’ville cop, lives to tell about it

Tue, 09/02/2008 - 4:03pm
By: Ben Nelms

Sometimes a cop is fortunate just to be able to go home at the end of the work day. Fayetteville Police Officer Todd Chitwood is living proof of that after a 16-year-old male took aim at him and pulled the trigger of a 9mm Glock handgun as Chitwood gave chase in an Aug. 30 incident that began behind Tinseltown Theater at Fayette Pavilion.

The College Park juvenile was one of two males Chitwood saw hanging around a vehicle in the rear of Tinseltown, said Fayetteville Police spokesperson Glenn Askew. The officer made contact and was checking their identification when one the males jumped up and began running toward the rear of the nearby Best Buy store, Askew said. The 16-year-old had apparently given a false name, said Askew.

Chitwood ran after the juvenile and, during the chase, the 16-year-old stopped, turned around, pointed a 9mm Glock handgun at the officer and pulled the trigger from approximately 20-25 feet away, Askew said.

The gun malfunctioned and did not fire, said Askew. Chitwood had pulled his weapon upon seeing the juvenile brandish the handgun, but did not fire at the 16-year-old, said Askew. Chitwood apprehended the male and placed him in custody.

The 16-year-old was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, obstruction, carrying a weapon without a license and giving a false name, said Askew.

Also over the weekend, a traffic stop Aug. 31 for speeding along Ga. Highway 85 and North 85 Parkway resulted in the arrest of three men on drug and weapons charges.

Dereck Jackson, 20 of East Point and 17-year-old Michael Wells of Atlanta were charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, Askew said.

Wells, along with the vehicle’s driver, 20-year-old Riverdale man Rodrequs Wells, was charged with weapons violations relating to the three handguns found in the vehicle, Askew added. One of the handguns was stolen, Askew added.

The three men and the vehicle were searched when officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, said Askew.

The quantities of drugs found at the scene were not immediately available.

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Submitted by Hazel Nutt on Fri, 09/05/2008 - 8:46am.

I am almost speechless on this one.
Atlanta is coming closer and closer by the minute. I am so grateful that this officer was there that night and that he is still here today. Thank you for all you do!!! Next time though, one of our own might not be so lucky. When will we begin to declare war on these people who make our community toxic? How much can our community take? It's heating up out there and the guns are blazing. I'm fearing that in the not so distant future, that we will have to bury one of our own. We can't have someone lose their dad, brother, son, daughter, mother, child, etc. for someone else's stupidity.

Submitted by ptcgal on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:10pm.

I for one, coming from a law enforcement family, am proud that Officer Chitwood is safe and the perp is in jail. Knowing that if he had shot back at the boy who tried to take his life, the black community would've been up in arms about taking one of their own, police using excessive force, you fill in the rest.
Unfortunately if you go to the pavillion whether day or night, you will see all of Clayton County hanging out at Tinseltown. Maybe b/c they're tired of loitering and harassing people at AMC 24 in Mt.Zion?
I for one am proud of the job FVPD and FCSD do for us. Thank you Officer Chitwood for all you and your brothers and sisters in blue do .

Submitted by denton1 on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 3:55pm.

Obviously you or I have never taken a human life and I hope I never do, so for you to say that this cop choked is simply ignorant.You only know what you read in this paper and have no idea what it was like on the scene, did the kid still have the gun when a shot was present or should you shoot a unarmed man because of what he tried to do? If you choose the route of shooting him when he had dropped the gun then you are no better than he is and have no buisness being in law enforcement. I believe that the police are there to protect and to serve not to kill and ask for forgivness, I also believe that the officer would have had to live with this for the rest of his life not to mention deal with the legal issues that would be sure to follow.I was proud of Todd Chitwood before this incident and am even more proud of him now.

Chris Chitwood

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 4:22pm.

You are right we only know what we read in the paper.

I am grateful this officer survived to tell about it. I would never shoot an unarmed man. If a gun was pointed at me it would be a different story.

Again I'm grateful that we did not lose a cop whose life in my eyes is more valuable than that of a punk criminal.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 8:52am.

I guess we will not see the kid's mom on television crying and claiming how her precious little baby was innocent.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 1:43am.

Buddy your cops need more training. This officer almost lost his life because he was unwilling to defend it. Cops are too valuable, and the rabid crackhead kids are a dime a dozen. I'm glad this officer is safe. Now lets do everything we can to make sure all of them stay safe.

Submitted by susieq on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 7:41am.

I think he should have shot the kid, but Todd Chitwood did exactly what he was trained to do, and I am glad we don't have a bunch of trigger-happy cops in town.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 8:38am.

The only reason that cop is alive today is because the crackheads glock did what glocks do best, it jammed! Thats why I don't carry one.

Cops can only help people when they stay alive. They are trained to react immediatly to a threat and this one choked. He is alive by the grace of God, and the poor design of glocks.

Defending your life when it is threatened does not equal being "trigger happy". There is a big difference.

Submitted by eldergent on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:56pm.

Glocks are well designed and very reliable but like all automatics, the slide must be pulled back to chamber the first round. Maybe the young punk didn't know or forget. The officer was quite brave or foolish not to have fired as soon as the gun pointed towards him.

Submitted by RattleTrap on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 4:37pm.

There has got to be more to this story than we have gotten so far. My thinking is that the punk didn't know that the Glock didn't have a round in the chamber. There are millions and millions of Glock's in service with Military and Police units around the world and it is very rare to hear of a failure to fire with a Glock.

Submitted by Tom Chitwood on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 6:41pm.

The one thing you are right about it is only by the grace of GOD that he's alive.But I can tell you that same grace kept that kid alive Todd has been a police for some 20 years spent many years on the swat team would not have been a problem to take him out with one shot.Todd knew the minuite the gun clicked he was ready to fired the kid had enough street smart to know to throw the gun and turn his back.What would have happened if Todd had shot a unarmed 16 year old kid in the back.If people have time to respond to this take time to call the DA'S office tell them they need to charge this kid with as much as possible.As of right now there not wanting to do this this is not the first time this kids been in trouble for posession of a fire arm but thats what our great legal system does for us .No one even knows this kid just got out of 10 mnths at a boy camp , And we still don't charge him to the fullist extent of the law .THATS CRAP .I'm proud of my brother for not loosing control I'm even more thankful to my Lord for sparing his life

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:00pm.

Is a well-trained professional who accomplished his goal. Let's not forget if he had shot the kid, he would have had to carry that in his heart for life. It is not easy to be a police officer, charged with such responsibility for life and liberty of the rest of us. I am grateful to Todd and his fellow officers.

As to the DA, and charging this kid, the article makes clear that:

"The 16-year-old was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, obstruction, carrying a weapon without a license and giving a false name."

What other charges could possibly be added? It will take time to process this through the criminal system. Be patient.

Submitted by sas on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 7:52pm.

Call the DA'S office?

We just re-elected him to do this job, we should not be calling Scott Ballard asking him to "charge this kid with as much as possible". Scott Ballard should be letting us know that he is doing his job and ensure all of the voters and supporters that just gave him another 4 years to get a paycheck compliments of the taxpayers that he will move this thru the courts in a swift manor, and get this punk off the streets. Being it was a member of the Fayetteville law enforcement that he "attempted to murder" I would think Ballard would take a personal interest in "setting an example" with this case.

Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 12:17pm.

The citizens of Fayette County are fortunate to have well-trained law enforcement officers like your brother. The mother of the 16 year old should be thankful that your brother had the skill to save her son's life! The DA will be getting calls and letters - and those concerned regarding juvenile recidivism need to work closely with legislators.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 7:08pm.

If you think it will help I will call our DA's office. I bet several other people here will as well.

I can't believe they are not charging him to the fullest extent of the law, especially with his previous record. It is very disheartening that we have a DA who would let him off light.

One of the officers friends did explain the rest of the story that was not in the article. Thanks again for explaining what really happened.

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 6:56pm.

Thanks for this.

You should indeed be proud of your brother, as should all of the citizens of Fayette County.


Jeeves to the Rescue

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 6:27pm.

The quantities of drugs found at the scene were not immediately available.

When will they be available? And how will they be distributed? Eye-wink


Jeeves to the Rescue

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 6:29pm.

"When will they be available? And how will they be distributed?"

muddle, you crack me up Smiling

Submitted by sas on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 6:21pm.

Too bad Rudjard Hayes is not our D.A. There would not be a 2nd chance with this one.

Submitted by FayetteFlyer on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:56pm.

If ever there were an instance of a justifiable shoot, this was it. Don't think I would've been so merciful.

Submitted by Dondol on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 7:32pm.

Should've put him face down in the pavement, been over and done. Now its just gona cost us the tax payers.

PTC80's picture
Submitted by PTC80 on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:05pm.

Upgrade the indictment to Attempted Murder instead of Aggravated Assault. Obviously the reasonably presumed outcome of turning around, pointing a gun at the officer, and pulling the trigger would be causing death to the officer. I see no reason to give this kid any slack. Charge him as an adult and put him away.

PTC80's picture
Submitted by PTC80 on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 7:47pm.

Thanks for your input, but you are slightly misguided in your response. While it is true that GA does not have a statute titled "Attempted Murder" like some states, that does not mean it is an invalid charge. The Official Code of Georgia section 16-4-1 defines "Criminal Attempt" as a principle which can be applied to any crime in GA. The text states as follows: "A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime."

In this case, the appropriate charge in my opinion would be "Criminal Attempt Murder" - the relvant "substantial step" being the act of pointing a loaded gun at somebody and pulling the trigger. Case law and common sense tell us that the reasonably expected outcome of an act such as this would be the death of another individual - and as such the act would constitute an attempted violation of OCGA 16-5-1 - Murder.

Aggravated assault is frequently used in this type of case in GA, simply because it is less likely to provoke a lengthy (costly) challenge in court, and the Aggravated Assault section provides a convenient outlet when it includes the text "With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob". In my opinion it is simply a "lesser and included" offense of Criminal Attempt Murder in a case such as this.
I think it should be upgraded because it ups the stakes in sentencing. Agg Assault is only punishable by 1-20yrs (or 5-20 when it's against a Police Officer). Murder is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. All things considered, we know the kid will not likely get more than 20 years, but the charge will certainly matter when he comes up for a parole hearing in a few years. It's a lot easter for a Parole Board to release somebody on an Agg Assault than Criminal Attempt Murder.

The 5-0's picture
Submitted by The 5-0 on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:46pm.

"Attempted Murder" doesn't exist in Georgia.
If you think about it, attempted murder is a stupid charge.
It's very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what a person was planning on doing.
Aggrivated assault on a police officer is a hefty charge, but lenient considering I would have shot the punk 15 times (it doesn't take long to rack the slide and chamber another round, so why give the perp a second chance to kill you?).

PTC80's picture
Submitted by PTC80 on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 7:52pm.

I do agree with you to an extent about the difficulty in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he was attempting to "murder". Just charge him with both and let the jury decide which one they think fits. If they find guilty on murder then the Agg Assault would be dismissed as a lesser and included offense. If they find NG on the Murder they can still convict on the Agg Assault.

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:19pm.

Aggravated assault? Is that some kind of joke?

PTC80 is 100% correct. Throw the book and everything else at him. Put the kid under the jail.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:45pm.

is attempted murder. That is what it is called in GA.

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:52pm.

Note to self: Look before you leap.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:59pm.

the word "murder" has such a strong connotation. Ah well, when in Georgia...

Submitted by jokerman on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:36pm.

has no such charge in existence.

Submitted by PTC Avenger on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 4:48pm.

More shining examples.

Submitted by Adamsville on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 1:17pm.

So what is the couse of action when all the uncivilzed blacks take over PTC. Are you going to move to Utah or just not going to make eye contact with them and hope they leave you alone like you do now?

Thank God for good cops like Officer Chitwood. He was spared his life and saved someone else's.

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 5:35pm.

Had this cop taken the path many of us might have chosen and opened up on this kid, his life would have been forever changed not only by the ugly reality of taking a life, but he would also have been hounded to the grave by the ACLU.

Now instead the poor cop will spend the rest of his life hearing that distinct clicking sound in his head.

There oughta be a law.

DragNet's picture
Submitted by DragNet on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 4:39pm.

This 16-year old juvenile surely is the product of the failed Clayton County School system. Just to think we might get some of these beauties in our schools gives tyhe creeps...Coweta and Fayette beware!

Making you think twice......

Submitted by snotrocket on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 7:52pm.

failed school system how about failed parents.

MajorMike's picture
Submitted by MajorMike on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 11:42am.

Parents (as in plural) you say? Nah, my money (7 to 3 odds) says that it's a poor, uneducated, single, 20 something YO, missing in action, round heeled **** cranking out one illegitimate "burden on society" after another. Oh!!! Bless me, did I say something that is not politically correct?

My hats off to Chitwood for his act of professionalism, I would not have had that much self control if someone had just dropped a hammer on me. They would have been explaining their misdeeds to the Creator right now.


USMC - Providing the enemies of America an opportunity to die for their countries since 1775

Acey1's picture
Submitted by Acey1 on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 4:19pm.

...insert your own comment here...
Forest Park, huh?
Thank God the officer is okay!

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