Dead teen's friends, family cope with tragedy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dead teen's friends, family cope with tragedy

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Leesburg-- Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents still aren't saying much about their investigation into the shooting. While the facts are being sorted out, those who knew Wesley Beaver are trying to cope with his death.

Was this shooting justified? That is a question that for now remains unanswered. GBI agents say they will collect every piece of evidence they can find, and then turn it over to the Americus district attorney's office for review. But many of Beaver's friends have already made up their minds.

Forrest Hall says the atmosphere at Breaktime Pub and Billiards just hasn't been the same since news of Wesley Beaver's death spread. "He was different than a lot of kids. He was always happy, smiling and respectful to me," said his friend, Forrest Hall.

In his six months working at Breaktime, Hall says there wasn't a weekend he didn't remember seeing the 17-year old come in and was surprised when he didn't see him Sunday.

But he was even more shocked to learn he was a suspect in a burglary and had been shot by a deputy. "I still can't believe this happened there's a lot not being told not being said about what's happened here, but I believe in my heart there's no way that Wesley even owned a gun or was trying in anyway to shoot anyone else," says Hall.

There isn't a lot being said, but GBI agents say that's because they're still trying to put the pieces together. "Our key issue is to make sure everything is covered fully and completely," says Danny Jackson, Special Agent in Charge.

Jackson confirmed that Capt. Donnie Spillers was the deputy who fired the fatal shot. "It was an apparent gunshot wound to the head area," said Jackson. A single shot fired? "That's all we're aware of at this time, correct," said the agent.

But Jackson won't discuss whether Beaver was armed. "We're not going to discuss any weapons found in the vehicle in the white GMC truck just because this is an ongoing investigation, it's a death investigation. We collect all the evidence and the evidence is a key point in the investigation," said Jackson.

"It's a tragic, tragic event any time this type situation occurs whether it be a law officer involved or not," A tragedy Hall says he's still trying to cope with. "Seemingly a nice young man. I just took a liking to him immediately," says Hall. "I want to tell his parents how I know this hurts, and how sorry, sorry I am that it happened."

Agent Jackson did tell us that there were no other witnesses, and that the other officer Deputy Sandra Fordham did have a camera in her vehicle. It did capture the chase, but not the shooting.

Medical examiners at the state crime lab in Moultrie will conduct an autopsy Wednesday. Preliminary results should be available Wednesday afternoon. Hall says Beaver's friends are planning a memorial service Friday at Breaktime.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com