Dead man's family said he "heard voices" - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dead man's family said he "heard voices"

November 17, 2006

Moultrie -- A convenience store worker was shot and killed by Moultrie police Thursday night.   Forty-three-year-old Willie Banks was shot around 7:30 PM at the Chevron convenience store on First Avenue Southeast.  

Banks' family wants an explanation from police, and are planning a lawsuit.    

Blood stains and a blue cowboy hat mark the spot of Thursday's shooting that left Willie Banks dead, and his family members in shock.

His mother, Ruby Banks exclaimed, "They just had shot my son down!"

"It just hurts me to know that they gunned my uncle down." Donna Gamble says her uncle would still be alive today had police not acted recklessly. "They could have stunned him with a the taser. They could have beat him down."  

According to the GBI, several Moultrie police officers were attempting to serve Banks with a warrant outside the Chevron store, when Banks produced a small knife, that's when police shot and killed Banks.

Veteran officer Sgt. Bruce Hamm fired the fatal shot that killed Banks. Police say Banks tried to attack police with the knife, but Banks' mother doesn't buy it.  "He don't tote no knife. He wouldn't have fought them, no way! He would help people before he would hurt anybody."

Even though he led a troubled life, she says. "He hear voices and things talking to him. He was mentally sick, but he was non-violent."

Family members claim police murdered Banks and they want the officers punished. "I feel that they should get time served because I know if I killed someone, I'm going to jail," said Donna Gamble.

They even plan take legal action against the Moultrie Police Department. "We do have the NAACP in this and we will get to the bottom of this, because they are going to pay."  

"I'm going to sue. It won't bring back my son, but it'll make me feel better," said Ruby Banks. And hopefully, they say justice will be served.  

Investigators involved with the case would not comment on camera. The officers involved in last night's shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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