APD officer shooting ruled justified - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

APD officer shooting ruled justified

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Heroic.   That's how investigators now describe the actions of two Albany Police officers who stopped an armed robbery a month ago.

A new report clears the officers of any wrongdoing in the shooting of one of the suspects.

Two masked gunmen robbed a south Albany Family Dollar July12th and appeared to be holding a hostage when officers showed up and captured both of the suspects.

GBI agents say the two Albany Police Officers faced one of the most difficult situations law enforcers can, two men with guns threatening to shoot a hostage and the officers.

Officer Christopher Hutcherson shot one of the robbers. After a mandatory investigation by the GBI, the District Attorney has ruled the shooting not only justified, but heroic.

Albany Police Officers Christopher Hutcherson and McKinley Windom were working a wreck in the parking lot at the Family Dollar store on West Gordon, when a witness told them the store was being robbed. Just outside the front doors they confronted two masked men, both carrying guns, and using a store employee as a hostage shield.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said "They stood up and took the actions that they did in light of all this potential danger to themselves. Their actions were justified and heroic."

Officer Hutcherson shot 20 year old Christopher Raines in the groin when he pointed a shotgun at the other officer. After a short chase, both Raines and 20 year old Randell Harris were caught and arrested.

That shotgun was real, but the other gun turned out to be a plastic toy.

Edwards said "The use of a toy does not prevent the use of deadly force in response to what appears to be deadly force."

Nine days later the store employee who was used as a hostage was arrested herself for being in on the armed robbery. Police say Jamaica Harris Jones, the sister of Randell Harris, helped plan and execute the robbery.

Now the D.A. has officially ruled the police officer shooting justified, ending the formal investigation.

Edwards said "I've already advised Chief Proctor that these person should be returned to duty."

But the D.A. says the prosecution of the three robbery suspects is moving forward.

Harris, Raines, and Jones are all being held in the Dougherty County Jail without bond. Raines, the suspect who was shot, is still being held in the medical infirmary, recovering from his wound.

All three could get more than 20 years in prison if they're convicted of armed robbery.

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