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Police defend teen shooting amid questions from neighbors, caretaker

BUFORD -- Faced with questions from neighbors and family, Gwinnett police officials on Tuesday vigorously defended two officers who opened fire on a mentally unstable, machete-weilding teenager and struck him five times, including a fatal shot to the chest.

Dawntree Williams, 15, was a familiar face to neighbors on Windward Gate Lane in Buford. He was remembered Tuesday as generally pleasant and trustworthy though prone to angry fits. Frequently, he bounced with neighborhood kids on a trampoline, dueled with Nerf swords and dabbled with Spy Gear gadgets.

That picture of Williams starkly contrasts the inconsolable teen who reportedly jumped down all eight steps of his grandmother's porch and ran screaming at police with a blade more than a foot long. Two responding officers -- unidentified men who've each been with the department about two or three years -- made a split-second decision to open fire, which Gwinnett police Cpl. Edwin Ritter called the right decision.

"When we got there, (Williams) saw our officers as something other than friendly, and he was willing to fight to the end," Ritter said. "They could barely get out the words 'stop and drop the weapon' .... it was that fast."

The officer nearest to Williams fired nine shots, in addition to three fired by his cohort. Williams was shot twice in the right leg, once in the left, once in his right arm and once to the chest, Ritter said, citing autopsy findings. Williams was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he later died.

The two-story home's yard borders Hall County. A moveable basketball goal stands in the driveway, which reeked of bleach Tuesday. By noon, neighbors had built a memorial of helium balloons, flowers and Christmas ornaments at the driveway's end.

Williams lived at the home with his grandmother, Anita Harris, and two younger siblings. She was staying with church members on Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment. She had expressed to other media concerns that Williams had dropped the weapon prior to shots ringing out.

Ritter said those concerns were unfounded. Williams succumbed to his wounds and fell about 10 feet from the officers, he said.

"The only time (Williams) dropped the machete is after he was shot," Ritter said.

Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said a preliminary investigation by his office would support police claims that Williams never relinquished the machete.

Both officers have been placed on routine administrative leave pending an internal investigation, though Ritter feels strongly they acted within protocol. Others who knew Williams felt wronged by the situation.

Neighbor Camille Sweeney, a mother of two, described Williams as "a sweet, well-mannered boy" who addressed adults as "sir" and "ma'am." She'd broken up fights between Williams and other boys and said he generally could be soothed with video games, in addition to medication. His parents reside in Tennessee, she said.

"He was really sweet, and it shouldn't have happened," Sweeney said. "I still don't understand how a small boy with a machete can be scary to two grown men wearing bullet-proof vests."

Communications between dispatchers and police and a 911 call paint a harrowing scene as police responded to the home at 3:18 p.m. Monday.

A therapist visiting the home, Harris and the two younger siblings locked themselves in a upstairs bedroom as Williams "destroyed" the home with the machete and hacked at the bedroom door. "He is banging on the door desperately trying to get inside," a dispatcher told responding police. At 3:33 p.m., a "shots fired" dispatch went out. Thirty four minutes later a chaplain was requested.

Williams was enrolled at The Hooper Renwick School in Lawrenceville for students with special needs, Gwinnett Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said. He was described in the 911 call as suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Police believe Williams had found the machete in piles of junk removed from a foreclosed home next door -- the source of a pool que and fire-poker that Williams had found and threatened family members with on two previous occasions, Ritter said.

Authorities had responded to the home three times since early October for domestic violence calls involving Williams. A caller reported a juvenile runaway there on Nov. 26 but called back to say the matter was resolved before officers arrived, Ritter said.

"There's definitely an alleged history of juvenile violence coming out of that house that led to (the shooting)," Ritter said.

Sweeney, the neighbor, said her husband was home at the time and heard what "sounded like fireworks." She pointed to two punctures in the home's second story siding that appeared to be bullet holes. As a favor, she and another neighbor scrubbed the driveway of blood Tuesday morning and cleansed it with peroxide and bleach.

She was considering an offering of home-cooked lasagna to help ease the grandmother's grief.

Comments

Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

Camille Sweeney, Have you ever had a crazy person running at you with a machete? Unfortunately the Cops did not have time to bake him Lasagna and play video games with him so he would calm down. I also don't think the Cops had time to get his prescription filled and then make him take the medication he was supposed to be taking. Any sized boy with a machete would have scared me even if I had a bullet proof vest on. Consider he was trying to harm the people he lived with and then charged at the Cops. That would scare me even more, a person knows you have a gun, but they still do a bayonet charge at you? That is a special kind of crazy and should not be taken lightly. Cops are paid to protect the citizens and in this case I do believe they protected law-abiding citizens from someone who was out to do others extreme harm. Let me get this straight; the reporter in this case is citing hearsay from a person who didn't actually witness the incident? The same person the Cops saved? AND shame on the Gwinnett Daily Post for trying to make a controversy out of this incident.

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CONCERNEDGCC 2 years, 7 months ago

There was no cause to use "extreme, excessive" force. Were these rookies. The department is trying to cover their behind big time. This was unnecessary. Did they both need to unload their weapons on this kids. Racist! They knew from the dispatch that this was a mentally disturbed kid. Were they not trained properly? Cops are supposed to be trained to handle situations like this. This kid looked all of 10 and was small for his age. Yes he jumped off the porch and proceeded toward them but definitely not at full sprint but WALKING. Why did bullet hit the counselors car which was so close to the house and near the porch. Seems like they started shooting the minute he jumped off the porch and hit him as he proceeded to walk toward them. What a bunch of cowards...get these losers off the street, they are trigger happy! What happened to the third officer, wonder why they are not mentioning him. It was actually three cops. The home was also not DESTROYED. Why don't you go inside and take a look, there are no cuts in the door; home was not torn up at ALL. Bedroom door was definitely not "Hacked". What liers esp. RITTERS really trying to cover up for his teams mess up and yes what a mess! Thank goodness she has good neighbors that looks out and knows what things were really like. No justification in the excessive force used, no way to get out of this one. Also why did officers leave the body lying on the ground for 15 minutes before even attempting to revive this young man...too many witnesses to validate this. Just so unnecessary!

CONCERNED FOR GWINNETT COUNTY!

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flickster 2 years, 7 months ago

yeah they're racist for shooting the machete wielding crazy man. You are delightful.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

not quite a man yet. Nor will he ever become one. You're so compassionate.

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rextim 2 years, 7 months ago

You making up your own facts as you go along? Cops are trained to handle a situation like this-- break leather and stop the threat. Rookies to 30 year veterans know how to handle a person coming at them with a machete (mentally deranged or not).

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

Where are you getting YOUR facts? The counselor that was sent to the house to work with the boy called 911 saying they weer all locked in a bedroom as they were being attacked by a kid with a MACHETE! Both cops did NOT unload their guns, not all shots fired hit (you watch too many tv shows if you think all shots are always going to hit their target dead center) and the kid was not LEISURELY strolling out to greet the officers. How much did you see? Did you know the family? Did you go inside the home? So what about the 911 call and the fact the family and counselor were apparantly afraid for thier lives, or they would not have hid in the room behind a locked door! I'm not saying I'm all against this lid. He obviously had problems, but a bullet proof vest is not going to do much agains a machete coming at your head and arms. I'm sure this family is a nice family and strong Christians too. They are friends of people that have visited my church before too. But, this all did not play out over an extended period of time. It went by quickly, and if someone is charging at me with a machete and I can defend myself, yeah, I probably would have shot him too.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Wow TimKenyon. You are amazing. So compassionate. 12 shots and you defend this action? Would you feel that way if it were your child? Bullet holes in 2nd story and councelors car? Glad I wasn't anywhere near that scene. Sounds like real professional, well trained people. Did YOU go inside the home? Were YOU there? I wasn't thank God. Drive by the house and check out the memorial on your way to church next sunday. Tell me what you think. No, don't tell me. I don't want to be associated with someone like you that is excited about this. I'm sure they are strong Christians. You know. Sort of like you.

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

Never said I was excited, just stating an opinion. I come from a family of cops and firefighters. I work in the 911 industry. I have seen and known the families of cops who have died in the line of duty due to some wild situation where someone who was mentally unstable went after an officer and that officer did not get the chance to defend themself. This stuff does not play out over an extended period of time where you can analyze each step, plan a course of action, coddle the attacker. Split second to make a decision about the guy coming after you with as far as you know the intent to kill you after having the family call saying they feared for their lives as well. At that point when the officers pulled up to that house, all they know is they have someone who has threatened the lives of an entire family, possibly hurt, killed or maimed someone in the moments before the officers arrived, have been to the residence in the past for violent behavior of same individual. I don't know what to tell you about where bullets may have hit when they didn't hit the attacker, but if you have this vision in your head that every shot a cop takes under pressure is going to hit center mass every time, then you are watching too many cop shows on tv.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh. Forgot Timkenyon, You are a church person who obviously just warms a seat there and doesn't pick up much info. Maybe you've heard the expression "what would Jesus do"? Some, most or ALL of us will be embarrassed when all the facts come out. Maybe me, maybe you. Does it matter anyway? There's a few cops out there that probably don't feel too great right now about what they had to do. But they did it. There is a grandmother out there mourning with her family and a little "machete wielding crazy boy" that won't be opening his Christmas presents this weekend. To me that's sad. But to a lot of you he deserved to die like a shot deer in the woods. And furthermore NICETVTL2 seems to be the only one here that has any compassion. Even though he may have not gotten his name spelled correctly. How petty!

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

And you have no clue about my relationship with Jesus or what my knowledge is. Sure have heard the expression what would Jesus do. What's your point? Jesus didn't like the money changers in the temple and overturned their tables too. He could be a bit upset about things too! I feel awful for what this family must be going through right now. And I know they have been struggling for a long time with this childs issues. Must be awful. And the officers too. I'm sure no officer ever wants to be responsible for taking another's life, but they had to make a decision, take one or give one. And only a split second to decide. Do you think you have the ability to make that perfect decision in half a second? It is sad, and there is quite a bit of difference between shooting someone who exhibits the adesire to kill you than to hunt and kill a deer in the woods for sport or food.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Stay relieved. The truth will come out on this my friend. It is obvious that you knew Dontree. If not done aready, demand an interview and tell your story as it is obvious you were there. If the cops are guilty of an illegal shooting well then they need to pay for it. If not, all we have is a dead 15 year old the week before Christmas. Anyone who applauds this should imagine if he was a son, grandson or other realative how they might feel..

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't aware these guys left the body there for 15 minutes with no attention. That's just wrong. I believe it though. Someone please prove this wrong. Don't those police cars have cameras and shouldn't that expose what went on? Perhaps at the trial and man.....I hope there is one!

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

Blah, blah, blah, blowhard. You were NOT there, you are just a little stir-stick in the septic tank.

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citizen99 2 years, 7 months ago

You were just not there.the 15 minutes before trying to revive him did not happen.in fact almost everything you wrote is make believe.You need anger management or your just a chronic liar.I really wish that cops didnt have to respond to 911 call to citezins who make comments about the job law enforcement does.Hope you never need saving in Gwinnett County

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gwinngirl 2 years, 7 months ago

It is amazing to me that there is even a question on this. The "small" boy had a MACHETE for goodness sake. I mean really folks. The police are not all bad, but they DO want to return to their families after their shift is over. Prayers for all involved but especially those who had to take a life. No one wants to resort to that, but if they do, at least they were able to defend themselves.

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Kat 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes, this is sad. No police officer wants to use his weapon.Stop demonizing the officers involved. Don't call 911 and involve the authorities if the person is harmless and will calm down. I suppose if they didn't arrive in time and the young man ended up killing everyone in the house, that would reflect badly on the officers as well. Let the real facts get sorted out before you judge law enforcement so harshly.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

It does appear that CONCERNEDGCC is making up/altering facts to fit his own version of how he wants the story to read. It appears he has his own predetermined view of Cops and that is clouding how he looks at this story. He also may have a pesonal connection to the crazy kid. He states the Cops are "racist." No where in the story does it mention race. It appears that REXTIM has it correct. Cops are not Chuck Norris and this is not a movie. I'm not sure how you train anyone for a machete charging kid other than shooting him or running away. I for one do not like the idea of Cops running away from this situation. What if they did not shoot the kid? Do you think he would have thrown down the machete and called it a day after that? The Cops are paid to protect mentally stable law-abiding citizens (like myself) and that is exactly what they did. It's unfortunate, but blaming the Cops for this will be easy for some people. Everyone wants to be a victim nowadays! I put blame where it belongs. Where was the family? Why were his parents in another state? The Cops had 5 seconds to deal with this situation. The family had 15 years! It appears the Cops had two choices; 1. Let the kid keep coming and commence to hacking away on them, or 2. Put him down and stop the threat. Which one would you pick?

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

12 shots? Sounds like even Chuck Norris wouldn't survive that. That is 12 shots on a small kid. His parents are not around because they have issues that made Dontree stay in custodial care with his grandmother. So I'd guess by what you're saying is that the kid deserved to die because he lost it? Is that right?

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes! You finally got it! Anybody that charges after another human being with a MACHETE is obviously presenting a life-ending threat that would scare the #@*! out of anyone and needs to be put down. Period!

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

Only five shots hit the kid. Only one fatal.Not all shots fired usually hit the moving target as it is coming full speed at you.

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Grayson 2 years, 7 months ago

The Cops did their job that day. It is a tragedy that a 15 year was wielding a machete and threatening lives that day too. The police had been called several times to this home it appears for domestic violence. Family members if you are afraid for your lives and call the cops on a family member you have to be aware if they are armed and threaten the lives of others including the police - they may be shot. If you don't want them to come then handle it yourselves. Or are you the type then who would blame someone for not helping if your head gets chopped off with a machete. I am ashamed too that Gwinnett Daily Post is not trying to make this a controversy. I dare anyone to have someone running at them with a deadly weapon to make a 5 second decision....I know what my choice would have been; I would like to return home to my family too. This sounds like an issue the family should have dealt with a long time ago and gotten this person the kind of help they needed. I support the officers decision and am so tired of hearing people down officers when they do their job once YOU called them. If they say put a weapon down do it!!

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

...and let's not forget that in the 911 call transcript, you can hear the 911 operator telling that counselor that made the call that if officers respond and this kid comes after them , the results would not likely be good.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

It IS a controversy!! Chop heads off? How skilled would he have to be? Was he a Ninja or something? Answer is......don't call 911. Take care of it yourself I guess. So glad you support the officers decision. And by the way....there are reports that Dontree (he has a name) Did put the weapon down and at the very least the leg and arm shot WOULD have. So let's keep shooting! Make sure.

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campbr 2 years, 7 months ago

First off stop calling the kid crazy, he has some mental issues. Second, None of you individuals know the fact in the case just what your reading. The bottom line is a child was shot and killed by two officers, with weapons (Mace, StunGun, lastly Firearm), with situationaly Training. Where was the mace or stun gun (Non-Lethal)? They also have a discharge range of about 10 feet. This young man did not have to die. (He was 15 years old.....15). They shot him because they could! Now the stories and the evidence will match the officers case no matter what! (as they are the ones handling the investigation and feeding the stories). They could have defended them selves without the use of deadly force. TRAINING people TRAINING. Stop hiring scared high school bullies and get some real police officers. For goodness sake he only had a foot long Mechete. Not down playing, but a stungun would have taken him down. He was only 15 and my heart goes out to that family. Imagine losing your 15 year old mentally disabled son.

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

ONLY had a foot long machete?? I think you are the one that is crazy. So, officers respond to a 911 call where a trained mental health therapist called saying they were fearing for their own lives as the young man with a machete "more than a foot long" was trying to get through the door after them. There had been several instances at that residence prior. Officers arrive, young man sprints out the door full speed, jumps off the porch and is taken down finally in the driveway in a matter of seconds. So, put yourself in the place of the officers who had barely split seconds to decide what to do. Grab a taser or stungun? Maybe that might hit him if he's close enough, but if you miss, guess who else may die tonight? You only get one shot with most stunguns. Your combatant is not going to give you a chance to make a second decision if the first one did not work. Yeah, it hurts that a 15 year old boy has died. But this is not any officers fault at all.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

A machete is described as 12.5" to 36". But does it matter?

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R 2 years, 7 months ago

Don’t downplay a foot long Mechete, CampBR are you a trained officer? Stun guns or MACE are NOT appropriate for all situations.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

A stun-gun would have required letting the kid close the distance to the officers. You can take that chance, but I would not.

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

Imagine losing you son, brother or dad to a CRAZY 15 year old with a foot long Machete because a Taser was fired and or pepper spray was fired and it had NO effect! It is a proven fact that people with mental issues are routinely NOT affected by less-lethal weapons! And, when that happens, you have NO time to draw your gun because then, he's on top of you swinging a blade. I personally saw a crazed man that was advancing toward SWAT team members with TWO knives, shot with TWO 12 guage shotgun bean bag rounds, then shot by TWO Tasers and it had NO effect! He's no longer living. So, since you have no qualifications to judge anybody else on what they "should have done", just shut up. You're making a fool of yourself.

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campbr 2 years, 7 months ago

@Grayson, Until it happens to you! And if doing your job is killing a mental disabled child... Well.... that says alot for our society. Non-Lethal means could have been employed. The police are TRAINED to handle these situations, not your average citizen. Personaly keep the scared cops home and send someone with a little more training. I can arm myself and simply pull the trigger, then claim self defense. See how far that would get me! I think...........15 to Life!

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

Their job was to protect the citizens that called them and were concerend for their own lives, not to purposely kill a mentally disabled young man of 15. You are right, the officers are TRAINED, and they did exactly as they were trained to do.

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campbr 2 years, 7 months ago

Almost forgot, you telling me it took two officers and 5 shots to bring down a 15 year old? 4 wounds and 1 shot to the chest that killed him. Excessive FORCE!

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

So, do you expect the cops to fire one round, figure out if it hit and if it is going to work, and then maybe fire another one, see if that works? What do you want them to do? Fire a shot and then count "...one mississippi....two mississippi..." get real. When you have someone that looks like they want to kill you, and mentally deranged people can show some superhuman strength when agitated, you fire rather quickly.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

If it saves a childs life .....yes you moron. First shot got him in the leg. Think that might stop a 100 lb kid? How skilled do you think this "mentally deranged" kid was with this one foot long knife they call a machete? So it took 11 more to finish him off? Why? Run to your squad car, kick him, club him but first resort is to open fire carelessly? Bullet holes in the 2nd story siding.....how tall was this young man? I don't condone his actions but I condone the police actions even less. Careless at best. Bet this kid was really scary. This wasn't serve and protect.....this was pure panic. What are you being taught anyway? Good bye mr. compassion. Hope you don't have a carry permit much less a gun.

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R 2 years, 7 months ago

CLUB him?
What are we after lawsuit money? I can see the uproar over the video now “They CLUBBED a 15 year old” if these other citizens were so close why didn’t they address the issue BEFORE the officers even arrived? It’s a very painful thing, but it does no justice to anyone with these comments.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Sorry can't answer your last question. The former comment I can. Answer is: Kid would have been subdued. A lot less uproar and a kid that could still get help. What's this about a lawsuit? Nothing is going to bring him back now anyway. Guess death is always the answer or at least according to some of those comments here. Well. I'm done. Have a great Christmas.

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R 2 years, 7 months ago

Again the only response would have been "Excessive Force!!" "Brutality!" Racists!! You have no positive path for the responders at all.

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timkenyon 2 years, 7 months ago

How do you know the first shot hit him in the leg? From which officer? the one who fired three shots or the one who fired 9? How would the officer know for sure the first shot hit him in the leg? Have you ever seen a deranged person with full adrenaline pumping? They could keep moving with one shot in the leg. Where in the leg did it hit? You make assumptions that make no sense. Run to your squad car?? Are yout alling me the officers should have run from the guy with the machete that wanted to possibly kill then and harm his family? Wow. Kick him? When he has a machete that could cut you wide open possibly? You are a piece of work. Where was the kid when the first shot was fired? Coming down the steps or in the driveway already? Was an officer crouching down when he fired, possibly hitting the second floor siding that was maybe what, anywhere from 10 feet and higher? Guess that depends on the distance and tha angle of where the shot was fired from. I have and show compassion where compassion is due.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 7 months ago

Campbr, You have no clue what you're talking about. I have been involved in public safety for over fifteen years. Out of those fifteen years, I have been a police officer for thirteen years. Additionally, I am certified by the state as a law enforcement instructor for the last six years and have regularly taught police officers from many different jurisdictions at the state regional police academy and local agencies. Two of my specialty areas are firearms and the use of deadly force.
If this boy was coming at the police officers with a machete, they acted appropriately. Taser tells you in their training that the taser is not a replacement to be used in deadly force situations. The taser only works appropriately IF both darts from the cartridge hits the target. This is a big IF when you are about to get cut up with a machete.
When you are confronted with lethal force, you respond with lethal force. You keep shooting until the threat is stopped. This means if he kept running or coming at them, they keep shooting. It is what they are trained to do.
These officers likely had SECONDS to decide what they were going to do. They reverted to their training and that training said they were to STOP a lethal threat with lethal force.
Many studies have shown that someone with a knife at distances greater than 21 feet can still stab you before you can get your gun out and shoot them if they are running at you.
I'd like to see how you'd have responded if someone was running at you with a machete and you were in the officers shoes. If your answer is anything other than run or shoot, you aren't being realistic because you'd be coming out of the encounter severely injured.

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Kat 2 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for going more in depth with how the officer(s) have to determine when deadly force is needed. A person with mental health issues is unpredictable and even a small person can be remarkably strong.

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

@Loganville...Listen, we're all wasting our time returning comment volleys with "these people". They've already played the "race card" and it's so easy to tell what's going on here. If the skin color of the shooter and the cops were reversed in this situation, this newspaper article wouldn't even be in the newspaper, much less these resulting comments. So, we can all talk back and rebut everything they say until we're blue in the face, but we're not going to change their opinions and judgements because they had these opinions and judgements long before this incident happened. They has them long before they moved here. This incident only serves as a vehicle for them to spew their bigotted vomit out at the masses, hoping to snag some white fool that will accomodate them in an argument and then call him/her a RACIST!. So, as professionals that know what the deal is here, I don't know about you but I'm just going to sit back and let this thing play out. I will pray for the officers that had to make this unfortunate decision, and I will pray for the family of this young man that apparently could not get him enough of the help he needed to live a normal life. And, ironically enough, I will also pray for the ignorant spectators that have made their hurtful, uneducated comments here. Peace out!

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jack 2 years, 7 months ago

"I still don't understand how a small boy with a machete can be scary to two grown men wearing bullet-proof vests."

They were not wearing machete-proof vests.

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad that the Post is following this article. Keep it up. It is controvercial and should be followed daily. Thank you and keep up the fact finding.

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NICETLVL2 2 years, 7 months ago

I was close to the boy and did not know his entire past because it doesnt matter to me as him being a human being deserving of life. He played at my house numerous times with my 3 kids and i have nothing but good things to say about him. In fact I could say worse things about my own children but nothing beyond just being a kid. Im not arguing the alleged threats or charging but do ague the excessive force used. The government says its abuse if I spank my kids but as long as its a certified police officer theyare allowed to murder them. Yes, this was beyond a shadow of a doubt MURDER. Dontre would come to my house, hug my wife, say "hi mr. NICETLVL2", kiss my baby boy and then go on with playing kids games with my children. I dont believe this brainwashed cop BS story but only God can place the proper judgement at this point. As for the statement about the parents needing to take care of this problem before hand. He was getting help from the same people that murdered him. That counsler is equally at fault of overreacting and getting him killed. The biggest mistake the family made was putting their trust in any government issued employee. Really though, what options do we have. Anita, you fight this till your death and though you and I have never met I have your back till the end. I am fighting this the best way i know how and I miss your son very much. I am so sorry, no one should have to go through this by themselves. R.I.P. my little cheddar cheese eating boy. These men will get it in the end I am positive of it.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't trust the government to raise my kids or handle their problems! Nor should I. Shouldn't taking care of children rest with their parents/family? Obviously the milk went bad if someone was scared enough to call the Cops. I'm sure this kid was great when he was taking his meds and everything was on track. Unfortunately something snapped for whatever reason. It's understandable that when someone close dies all you can think about are the good things. I'm sure someone said the same things about John Wayne Gacy. I'm sure he was a great kid some of the time. Fact of the matter is he charged at Cops with a machete.....end of story.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

His name is documented in the media as Dawntree - not Dontre. Interesting from someone who knew him so well ...

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Guess that changes everything huh.? Paper could be wrong. Bet you and this Mustardgas or whatever his name is have the entire Jeff Foxworthy (hope I spelled name right) collection don't ya? People make spelling errors but I guess you missed the point anyway. Merry Christmas.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

Mutiple media sources, not just the GDP, have his name as DAWNTREE. Guess they ALL are wrong and you and NICET are right? Who is Jeff Foxworthy? Nevermind I will "Google" him ...

PS Merry CHRISTmas :)

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

OK, Jeff Foxworthy ... the "you might be a redneck" guy! Sorry, I don't worship any entertainers to the degree that I would own a collection of any sort. I guess my neck might get red when I work in my garden, does that count in your book? :)

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

Correction on my part, the AJC has his name spelled as DAWNTRAE, not Dawntree as spelled here. I think it is very important for the media to spell names correctly. Even so, someone that claims to know him so well and speak on behalf of his character should also know how to spell his name. Dishonest? Disrespecful? Both...

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pdjks 2 years, 7 months ago

If you want non-state professionals, don't take state handouts!

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

So you were "close" to the young man (even though you don't know the correct, well documented spelling of his FIRST NAME) and you have NEVER met his grandmother. You even had a nickname for him. Where are this young man's parents? It also sounds like your last line was a bit of a threat towards law enforcement. Bets are you have a more intimate relationship with law enforcement than you ever had with this young man, which is probably your problem and why you are posting.

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citizen99 2 years, 7 months ago

So you know everything about the care of a bipolar,schizophrenic?because he was at your house a couple of times.The family lived there for less than 3 monthes.You were just luckey that he didn't have a problem at your house.What would you of done if he was threatening your wife and children with a large sharp knife.Give him cheddar cheese?How about the neighbors son who told his mother not to answer the door when Don was knocking because he was afraid of him.He a 12y/o is smarter than you.He told his mother Don threatned to hurt him.He wasn't a sweet little boy.He was a damaged person born to a crack addicted mother.He had a history of violence and was institutionalized for a prolonged time because of his violent history prior to moving to Georgia.But its easier to blame,you were not there and you do not know anything about mental illness that is for sure.Don is finally a happy normal young man living in God's house.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

Are we forgetting several key aspects of this incident? #1: Family members were scared enough to call 911 and lock themselves in a room to get away from the crazy kid. #2: Their is no doubt he had a machete. #3: He charged at two dudes that were wearing visible police uniforms. #4: The crazy kid charged at the two dudes who he knew had guns and would use them. I think anyone who knows these facts would have been scared to death in this situation. Really, do you all think Cops are trained to be Chuck Norris's? Do you think real life is like the movies? If it was my life on the line I would have kept shooting until my gun was empty! I understand he was a 15-year-old kid, but if it comes down to me or him then guess what my answer will be? Size don't mean $%#& when someone is charging at you with a deadly weapon. We are not talking about a nail file, this was a machete people. If you are talking about the Cops should have done this or that then you are kidding yourselfs. You are either a Cop-hater or you have no common sense. Either way put the keyboard down and go back to watching Oprah! Cops are paid to put themselves in harms way. However, they are also paid to WIN those encounters with the bad guys/kids. If you want to "take one for the team" then fill out an application for a police officer. Then you can be trained and if a situation like this presents itself you can stand there I try to talk with the crazy kid that is charging at you with a machete. Or you could do a Walker Texas Ranger round-house kick and disarm the kid just like in the movies. Let me know how either option works out for you. I know the Cops are the easiest to blame because they had to clean up the mess that was made by this kid and his family. The Cops had to make the hard choice while the family just sat back and called them out there. The Cops had to make the hard choice so all of you could sit back and say "I heard this or that." I sometimes find myself second guessing pro athletes. But then again I'm not the one having to hit a small round object traveling at 95 mph. Just like you folks don't have machete-weilding crazy teenagers running at you!

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

You were so close to this boy, yet you don't even know how to spell his name correctly?

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NICETLVL2 2 years, 7 months ago

HE NEVER GOT TO SIGN A CHRISTMAS CARD FOR ME FOR SOME REASON. ONLY KNOWN THE KID FOR A FEW MONTHS. SORRY I DONT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO SPELL SOMEONES NAME TO KNOW THEIR PERSON. MORONS ARE REALLY GONNA POINT OUT THE SMALL STUFF LIKE THAT TO HELP YOU SLEEP? WOW? GOT A JOB DUDE.

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NICETLVL2 2 years, 7 months ago

this is not how we handle the mentally ill. the cops(who are adults) knew he had a mental illness and knew he was a kid. so preperations should have been made. this is not a political debate people dang. the CHILD, such as my own, was not a grown adult that knows all the ins and outs of everyday situations. this is part of growing up. the family didnt call the police, the counsler did. i am finished answering stupid questions from people who only know what they have seen on tv and read in this blog but this is a kid dead before christmas who made a bad decision not punishable by death. these cowboys just saw him as an excuse to kill something or they were such sissys they didnt know what else to do. bottom line is they were not trained for this situation. i would be willing to sacrifice an arm or a minor flesh wound from a blow with a dull blade found in the yard of a foreclosed house next doorfor any KID. if we are looking to blame someone other than the kid like alot of you are then lets blame hall county for not ensuring the emtpy house was safe and if not then condemning it. but we all know we are held responsible for our own actions and have only ourselves to blame for them. blame game doesnt fly. he messed up bad but did not deserve death by any means. goodnight bored people. continue being able to sleep in your dreamland and i hope YOUR family stays safe at least through the holidays for Gods sake.

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R 2 years, 7 months ago

You would sacrifice your arm? Reality check warning - how would you support your family going forward? That's not a realistic life choice.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

The mentally ill used to be locked up, not allowed to live among the rest of society. Again, this was not a small boy. I would not even call him a child, or even a kid. He was a mentally ill teenager, a 15 year old young man on the brink of being an adult. 15 year olds can drive with a permit. 15 year old males can have sex and get 15 year old girls pregnant.

I want to hear about the parents, and why they dumped their children off to live with their grandmother. BLAME the sperm and egg donor (aka parents) before you blame anyone else!

Society is screwed up, but not for the reasons you cite and claim. You cannot be part of the solution if you are part of the problem, NICET!

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pdjks 2 years, 7 months ago

As someone else who lives here....Thank God for police!! The first time I met him he told me he had "anger issues" and as a good mother to a toddler, I kept our distance from him. I heard that "murder" happen, and there was no choice but to shoot him. You people are sick.... He could have ran to my house in a RAGE and slaughtered me and my child... He may have been a "kid" but he outweighed me by at least 40lbs. The grandmother may not have pulled the trigger, but she is the reason he is gone. He should have gotten help long, long ago!!!!! Get a life and keep in mind these officers were trying to protect all the kids that were outside, home for the holidays playing!!!

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citizen99 2 years, 7 months ago

The problem was he was getting help.Help was not enough for a child born to a mother who did crack while she was pregnant.Lets start at the beginning of this kids problems and a life time of violence and anger.Some people cant be fixed.All these people who claim to know him so well and how innocent he was should be thanking the officers for ending a potential tradedy in thier family.

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pdjks 2 years, 7 months ago

I personally asked the Grandmother about Dawntree, not long after they moved in. After Dawntree told me he had gotten kicked out of schools and housing communities in Florida and Tennessee for having anger issues I talked to his Grandmother.She said and i quote "Dawntree is a little slow but he has the Mentally of a 8 year old and is perfectly harmless, and safe to have around your family". REALLY!!! and now we find out that he is bi-polar, schizophrenic with a side of ADHD for good measure!!! On a different note, for the few people that I spoke with in the neighborhood about Dawntree we all had the same concerns and kept our distance from him. So what happened on Monday was not a surprise to us. The cops had been called there 4 times in three months all for the same issue. For my fellow Windgate neighbors if you allowed dawntree to play with your small kids, and did not find anything wrong with a 15 year old wanting to play with a toddler Please post your names in full and please Call DFCS soon so that your kids can have a better life because it is apparent that you do not realize the key signs of trouble when you see it.

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

Well, well, well...What do you have to say to all of this, NICETLVL2??? This is one of you neighbors talking...one that also knows DAWNTREE! I think you've got a chip on your shoulder for the police. I don't think it has ANYTHING to do with DAWNTREE. I think it has everything to do with YOU. Tell us about it, "sissy"? You're sitting at your comfortable keyboard, typing in all of these hurtful things to say to people you don't even know, making assumptions about professionals that took an oath to defend you and your neighbors to the death, with THEIR lives. You make me sick. You make me physically ill, to think that there are government employees who have taken this crappy, low-paying, thankless job as a law enforcement officer to serve and protect people like you?? I sincerely hope that it's YOU that "gets it in the end", as you so eloquently put it in your previous comment. And, on top of all of that, you let some schizophenic, psychopathic kid into your home to play with your younger children?! I'm just glad he didn't choke one of them to death in your basement...

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smilinatya 2 years, 7 months ago

Yeah Mustardandbiscuit. Man, this kid should have been shot YEARS ago and none of this would have happened. Low paying crappy jobs? No one forced them to sign up. Dawntree.....Dontre....Dwntre. What's the .difference??? What's with the death threats that you gave to some bloggers anyway? How are you different ? I'm not a cop hater and this has gotten way out of hand. There is a justice system out there in place that will handle this. I, you, nor anyone else can do a thing about it. We all see things different. I am going to stop with my thoughts, comments, perhaps even insults. I will forgive anyone that did not see things my way or anyone elses way. This has gone too far and is not productive. We need to all just stand down and wait. There is nothing we can do. My apologies to you sir and others. Let's go forward. Enough is enough. Have a blessed Christmas, prosperous new year and may we all have a good life together.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

"Dawntree.....Dontre....Dwntre. What's the .difference???"

Really? You were coming to his defense earlier and now you don't care what is name is?

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for posting this. The other thing people are forgetting that the was not a small boy, he was a young man. Normal, healthy 15 year old males typically have high amounts of hormones raging through their bodies, then there are the mutiple mental issues that Dawntree had. Off meds? Weiding a machete? If LE was not called in this case, one can only imagine an even worse outcome.

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pdjks 2 years, 7 months ago

Thank you! If the police would have "ran to their squad car" as someone suggested, and left a raging young man outside with a machete, it could have been me. I was outside at the time. I don't walk around my street armed, I have a higher living standard than that. I am shaken to my core by what happened on that 911 tape, because I know I could not have protected me and mine from that. And people that are that deep in a rage don't think at all. If he can charge armed men, what would he have done to me?

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joelmissoff 2 years, 7 months ago

Its not about me and my selfishness. I would sacrifice my life for any child. Of course its realistic. Would not sacrifice my life for a child trying to kill me but my legs currently work so i would run or i can think of many things i would do to avoid injury and confident i would succeed and not hav to live with a horrible decision like killing them. It is worth an effort above murder and thats what makes me human. What makes u human?

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wingatedad 2 years, 7 months ago

Joelmissoff you would only sacrifice your life for you child, but guess what the police would sacrifice there life for everyone's child. What would you have done if Dawntree was headed to you and the police simply got in there car? Then you have to protect your kid against that?

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INFORMED 2 years, 7 months ago

If the cops run who is left to deal with the deranged individual with a machete? What would have happened if the cops ran and the deranged machete wielding suspect went to your house and hacked your family to death? I bet you would be up in arms for the police not doing there jobs. Plain and simple cops do not have the option to run, we are who the people call when they run. We put our lives on the line for you so you can run. We run towards the danger not away. Google Virginia Tech shootings and look for the picture of the cop running towards what everyone is running from. What would happen if we did not have the brave people to run towards what you want to run to. It is a shame the kid lost his life, but plain and simple he decided to attack with a machete and when that situation arises there is only one outcome. My heart and prayers are with the officers who have to deal with taking the 15 year olds life. No matter what you think they did not want to shoot, but bottom line they had to. They have to live with this the rest of their lives which will not be easy.

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Mack711 2 years, 7 months ago

You are a police officer, you get a call about a person who has a machette. He has forced the family to lock themseives in a room to prevent harm being done to them. You arrive on site the person charges you with the machette you have a decision. 1) try to talk him out of it 2) use a taser, that may not stop him 3) use your weapon and stop the attacker. You have only seconds to maks the decision. If you chose option 1 or 2 then you may get seriously injured or killed by this person. If you chose option 3 then you go home from your shift. should you chose option 1 or 2 then you are a fool. Rest assured that these officers used the last resort to stop this person. They did not have time to ask his age,race or mental stability. These officers will have to remember this for the rest of their lives just like many who went into the military and went to war.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

Right, we don't pay Cops to run away from danger. Even suggesting that they should have sought other options in the situation is unrealistic and borderline idiotic. Do you think if the Cops ran to their car and drove away the crazy kid would have thrown the machete down and went back to normal? The options were to kill him or let him take his rage out on someone with a machete. Which would you prefer? Again, we have a Police Force to intervene in situations like this and keep the public safe. They ran up against a young adult armed with a machete in a residential neighborhood. Someone was going to die that day any way you want to slice this story. I'm just glad it wasn't someone innocent. I just saw the grandmother on WSBTV blaming Hall County for leaving items out in front of the house after an eviction. Really? First you lie to the news and contradict your original statement to the Cops. Now this? Really trying to cast a wide net and throw those stones at anyone you can huh? At what point will the news stations start to question this lady hard and not give her a platform to spread lies? I'm glad we have heard from other "neighbors" about what they thought of this kid. At least I know there are some responsible parents in this neighborhood. Why didn't the news interview these people? Instead they interview the most bleeding heart liberal who basically suggested she would have baked him lasagna and let him play video games to calm down. WTF! With all those known problems you still let this young man play with your toddlers? Some people are born to be victims I guess through plain stupidity! If I was the Gwinnett Police Chief any news station or paper (liberal rag) that did bias reporting in this situation would be cut off from any inside information in the future. It really appears the Police were done wrong in this incident by the news!

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 7 months ago

First, thank you and the last 3 bloggers for your comments, you are all right on. I can see it now...cops jump in their cars, back away, the kid runs at another neighbor and hacks her head off, or runs into a nearby house and kills all 3 children?! What do you think smilinatya and her friends would be saying then? "We pay them cops to protect us and they tucked their tails and ran to their cars?" ....wow. Second, deep inside, they know that the officers were in the right, but they started an argument for the kid and can't turn back. Instead, they try to armchair quarterback and make suggestions about what other professional people should have done without any knowledge of the job or what these people are sworn do. It's pathetic. They're pathetic. It doesn't matter what we say here, minds are made up and opinions are already formed.

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psychientology 2 years, 7 months ago

This would be no different than if someone came at me or anyone else with a deadly weapon. You defend yourself the best of your ability. They had a split second to make a decision and they made the right one. It's sad the boy is dead but one could blame the person that gave him the weapon if they want to blame someone. Police officers have an impossible job that most people could not handle. To say some of the things said here is incredible and ignorant. Just my opinion.

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