DA rules officer shooting justified - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DA rules officer shooting justified

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –An Albany Police officer was justified when he shot and killed a woman in October.

That's the ruling from the District Attorney and the GBI. 

But the woman's family doesn't buy it.  They say law enforcement is covering up what they call a "brutal murder."

District Attorney Greg Edwards announced that his investigation and an independent GBI investigation concluded that Albany Police Officer Eric Strom was acting in self defense, and protecting three other people when he shot 49 year old Sarah Riggins October 23rd. Edwards said Riggins had a gun and a knife, and fired first at the Officer. Her relatives don't believe any of it.

Investigators say Eddie Anderson called Police October 23rd and told them Sarah Riggins was threatening him with a gun. Officer Eric Strom responded to the call in the 12-hundred block of West Gordon Avenue. While he was in the front yard, Riggins came onto the porch with a gun and knife. Investigators say she fired one shot at the Officer, who fired back three times, hitting her once and killing her.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said "His actions were under the facts and law justified and do not warrant any consideration as a criminal act."

Katherine Riggins, daughter of Sarah Riggins, said "It's too much stuff not adding up. It's like a cover up."

The night of the shooting several people told WALB News Ten that Riggins did not have a gun when Police shot her. The family went out into the community looking for witnesses. They say many more people told them that the Police were lying.

 Chiqiata Elder, niece of Sarah Riggins said "They can say anything they want. It's ugly and try to paint this picture. But we know we know that we don't have any answers."

Edwards said "There is always going to be a small cadre of persons within our community who will make any issue such as this one that involves racism, politics or conspiracy. There was none of that in his instance."

The D.A. says he only found one witness who stuck with his story that Riggins was not armed. Edwards says he was at the shooting scene minutes after it occurred, and he is satisfied despite rumors in the community and the family's dissatisfaction.

 Edwards said "That's going to be there, and the best way to deal with that is to try to be as open and as forthcoming as possible."

Chiqiata Elder said "We don't feel no closure. Nothing. We don't have no answers to nothing. It don't make no sense."

Katherine Riggins said "It's just like they want to wipe it up under the rug and just forget about it. My Mother's gone."

The D.A. previously said he would present the case to the Grand Jury and then hold a coroner's inquest, but said he is satisfied with his own review.

The family says they are in the process of hiring a lawyer, and plan to sue the city.

Officer Eric Strom has been with A-P-D since December 2008.

He will remain on administrative leave until the Chief reviews the D-A's statement.

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