LAWRENCEVILLE -- A reportedly suicidal Lawrenceville man shot and killed by Gwinnett County police Thursday night had yelled at officers and came at them while pointing a rifle, police officials said Friday.
The shooting riled family members and eventually led to two arrests. Police officials said the officers were reluctant to fire, but ultimately had to. They detailed Friday what had transpired during a tense hour at the 556 Trophy Trail home near Lawrenceville.
About 6:30 p.m., officers arrived at the home of James Clark, 32, after a friend had reported that Clark cut his arm with a knife and was armed with a gun.
The friend "advised that Clark had fired two shots prior to his arrival" and then ordered him to leave, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said Friday.
The first of several police units arrived on scene at 6:41 p.m.
Eight minutes later, Clark emerged from the home carrying a deer rifle with a mounted scope, but he made no threatening moves at first, Smith said. Officers attempted to negotiate with Clark, who remained near an entrance to the home's carport, for the next 14 minutes, convincing him at one point to put the rifle down, Smith said.
"(Clark) picked it back up a short time later," he said.
Finally, Clark climbed onto the roof of a car parked outside the carport and yelled at officers. At 7:03 p.m., he began walking toward police while pointing the rifle at them, Smith said.
Two officers fired their weapons at Clark, killing him.
About 7:20 p.m., members of Clark's family began arriving at the scene.
"Understandably," said Smith, "they were very upset."
At one point, Clark's mother circumvented police tape and entered the crime scene, trying to elude officers; she was not arrested. Clark's brother, Robert, 34, and father, Thomas, 65, demanded answers in the shooting, shouting profanity and threats at officers, which prompted their arrests, Smith said.
Both were charged with disorderly conduct. They were released from the Gwinnett County Jail after posting $135 cash bond Friday, records show.
"The family's behavior was given special consideration due to the circumstances," Smith said.
Robert Clark told other media outlets he believed his brother was holding a pellet gun when officers shot and killed him. Smith, however, confirmed the weapon was a Remington .270 deer rifle. He released a photo of the gun to metro Atlanta media Friday.
The two officers who fired on Clark have been placed on standard administrative leave, pending an investigation by the Gwinnett police deadly force investigation team. Neither officer was named.
Smith said the team is comprised of investigators from the department's internal affairs, crime scene and homicide units, as well as the county's Medical Examiner's Office and District Attorney's Office.
According to the 911 caller, Clark was upset because of a dometic dispute, Smith said.