Atlanta-area police officer shot and killed during suspicious vehicle check

Posted at 9:04 PM, Oct 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 23:03:35-04

A police officer in Gwinnett County, Georgia, was shot and killed while answering a call about a suspicious vehicle on Saturday afternoon, according to a department spokesman.

Officer Antwan Toney, who had just turned 30, was responding with another officer to a call of possible marijuana use, said Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

“There was no particular red flags in this call,” Smith said.

Toney was shot at from inside the suspect vehicle as soon as he approached the car in a parking lot at a middle school. He was hit one time. The other officer, returned fire and dragged Toney away, Smith said, and he died at a hospital.

The suspect’s four-door black sedan sped away and crashed about a mile away. There were as many as four people inside the car, Smith said. There are no suspects in custody.

“They fled the scene and crashed without an officer in hot pursuit,” Smith said.

Smith said it is unclear whether anyone in the suspect’s car was hit or how many shots were fired.

Chief of Police Butch Ayers said investigators were talking to multiple “persons of interest.”

“We have interviewed a few people about their involvement in this case. As of now, no one has been formally charged with any crimes,” the department said in a news release.

Detectives were still processing evidence from the car and had engaged in some searches elsewhere, Smith said. Police are also looking at body camera video recorded by responding officers.

It is unclear whether there was police dash camera video of the event.

Police presence was heavy Saturday evening in neighborhoods a few miles east of Stone Mountain. A helicopter flew above the vicinity of the middle school.

Toney had been with the department for almost three years. Before he was an officer, he had been a security guard, police said.

Ayers said his Gwinett colleagues “recall a very jovial person who was dedicated to his job and dedicated to his community.”

Toney was originally from Southern California.

Gwinnett County is in the metropolitan Atlanta area and has 920,000 residents. Toney’s killing is the first line-of-duty death in the county since May 1993 when an officer was killed in a traffic accident.

Three officers were shot to death in April 1964.

Toney’s death was the second fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer this week. North Carolina State Trooper Kevin K. Conner was killed Wednesday during a traffic stop near the border with South Carolina. A suspect was taken into custody.