The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred in Colquitt County last week. The full details are below:
Colquitt County, GA (September 7, 2018) – On Thursday, September 6, 2018, at approximately 9:45 pm, the GBI was requested to conduct an investigation of an officer involved shooting and subsequent death that took place in rural parts of Colquitt County outside of Berlin, GA.
Preliminary information indicates that officers with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision had requested assistance from the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office and Moultrie Police Department to assist with contacting several probationers off of Bob Hiers Road in a small mobile home community. While at this area, a vehicle described as a grayish/silver Chevrolet Tahoe, later determined to be driven by Nick Warnell, arrived in the area. Agents and officers then attempted to make contact with Warnell and speak with him. Warnell was uncooperative and drove away at this time.
An agent and officer in separate vehicles followed the Tahoe down to the intersection of Hall and Hempstead Church Roads where a traffic stop was initiated. While attempting to talk with Warnell, he was uncooperative and then became combative. A Taser was used but was not effective in stopping the resistance. Warnell was then able to get the Tahoe into reverse and drag an officer down the road a considerable distance in the “V” of an open door. The officer being drug was able to free himself from the door and it is believed that he was run over in the process. Warnell then produced a rifle and the other officer fired his weapon at the Tahoe. The Tahoe continued retreating from the officers’ location where it stopped Warnell exited and began firing at the officers with a rifle. None of the officers were hit, but their vehicles were both struck as they sought cover from the gunfire.
Officers radioed for backup and a responding Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office deputy passed Warnell in the Tahoe on Cannon Road a few miles from the original incident location. The deputy turned around after allowing some distance between the vehicles, and Warnell pulled off to the opposite side of the road and stopped. Warnell then began firing at the deputy’s vehicle, striking it in the windshield, roof, hood, A-pillar, and other areas. The deputy was able to return fire with a rifle from a position of cover. Warnell then drove away and his vehicle disappeared. Additional law enforcement responded from Brooks, Cook, and other law enforcement agencies. Members of the Lowndes County SWAT Team arrived in an armored vehicle and located Warnell’s vehicle which had crashed into a wooded area after a search by law enforcement. SWAT Team members approached Warnell’s vehicle and found him deceased inside. EMT’s were also present on scene and confirmed Warnell was deceased.
A subsequent search of Warnell’s Tahoe located numerous weapons and extra loaded magazines and loose ammunition, to include a rifle and pistol. An autopsy was scheduled at the GBI Crime Lab in Macon for Friday, September 7, 2018. Agents continue to conduct interviews with witnesses, process vehicles, and collect evidence for submission for testing regarding this case. This investigation covered a large area with multiple scenes which had to be processed and evidence to be collected.
Law enforcement officers are in the area continuing to identify and interview witnesses and collect evidence. This case is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to call GBI Thomasville at 229-225-4090 or the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office at 229-616-7466.
****It is the intent to release the names of the law enforcement officers who fired their weapons as soon as this information is available. We are attempting to schedule those interviews and determine this to provide you when we can. It will be provided when available and as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. ****