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Mom called cops to year's third officer-involved killing

Police brief the media following an incident in which a man wanted in Forsyth was shot dead by police.


Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan

Gwinnett County Police Officers points to something after responding to the location of a wanted person located at Pass Court in Buford on Monday. The wanted person was Rodney Pike, 38, who used his SUV as a weapon and died on the scene due to shots fired by the officers who initially responded.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Gwinnett County Police Officers points to something after responding to the location of a wanted person located at Pass Court in Buford on Monday. The wanted person was Rodney Pike, 38, who used his SUV as a weapon and died on the scene due to shots fired by the officers who initially responded.

Audio clip

911 Call of Incident

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Officer-involved shooting in Buford

Police brief the media following an incident in which a man wanted in Forsyth was shot dead by police.

Police brief the media following an incident in which a man wanted in Forsyth was shot dead by police.

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Rodney Pike

LAWRENCEVILLE — When Joan Morgan called to ask Gwinnett County police to pick up her son — wanted out of Forsyth County on probation violation and failure to appear charges — she warned them he may run.

No stranger to correctional facilities, Rodney O’Neil Pike, 38, would likely flee when authorities showed up at his sister’s Sugar Hill home, Morgan cautioned, but, thanks to leg injuries in recent years, wasn’t “gonna run that fast.”

In addition to asking that officers not reveal it was her who called, Pike’s mother made one plea in the 911 call obtained by the Daily Post.

“Don’t shoot him,” Morgan told the dispatcher. “Please don’t hurt my baby.”

A handful of officers descended upon the Pass Court home at about 4 p.m. Monday, confronting Pike outside. He reportedly jumped into a blue Ford Explorer and “refused to comply with the officers’ verbal commands to stop.”

One Taser attempt was unsuccessful, police said, at which point Pike started the car, hit one officer in the leg and “was headed directly toward another.”

Shots were fired by two officers. Pike, one of “Forsyth’s Most Wanted,” was killed.

“I hated to do this,” Morgan had said during the phone call that triggered the incident, “but he’s been on drugs off and on for a while and it’s just ridiculous. He’s hard to talk to now. He needs help.”

In the month-plus since April 10, Pike was the third individual to be shot and killed by Gwinnett County police officers.

On April 10, Lauren Holman Brown was killed by a GCPD SWAT officer after holding several Gwinnett firefighters hostage in Suwanee for more than four hours. On April 22, Eric Andrews was shot after approaching officers with a tire iron, reportedly after a burglary at a Norcross apartment.

The year’s total has already matched last year’s number of fatal officer-involved shootings. It’s also eclipsed the department’s annual average since 2009, according to statistics compiled by the Office of Professional Standards.

-- 2009: Five shootings, three fatal

-- 2010: Three shootings, one fatal

-- 2011: Seven shootings, four fatal

-- 2012: Six shootings, three fatal

The use of firearms by county officers is dwarfed by other means of force — over the last four years, an average of 129 annual incidents of Taser use have been recorded.

Many of the fatal incidents over those years have drawn ire from friends and family of the deceased, who insist that the use of firearms was unnecessary and that police officers were overzealous in their use of deadly force.

But District Attorney Danny Porter, whose office is part of the county’s post-incident Deadly Force Investigation Team, pointed more toward suspects creating the perceived spike in officer-involved deaths.

“It seems to be part of a nationwide trend that offenders are willing to use deadly force against officers,” he said.

The Gwinnett County Police Department’s use of force policy is, to be oxymoronic, specifically vague.

“An officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life,” it reads, “including the officer’s own life, or in defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury, or to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon whom the officer has probable cause to believe will pose a significant threat to human life if escape should occur and all other available means of defense have failed or would be inadequate or dangerous.”

As pertains to the Pike case specifically, the policy also says shots “shall not be fired from or at a moving vehicle” and orders officers to make every effort to “avoid the vehicle becoming a threat of death or substantial harm to the officer.”

Per department policy, the officers involved in Monday’s situation have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Comments

HonestIngine 11 months, 1 week ago

Sugar Coat it and Cover it up.. Next news item....

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Haughton 11 months, 1 week ago

Listen to the entire 911 call.

“Don’t shoot him,” Morgan told the dispatcher. “Please don’t hurt my baby.” Mom jokingly laughs after this statement.

In the 911 call, she also states something like please don't let him know it was me he'll kill me. She jokes and says no he won't, and half heartedly laughs again.

Mom tells dispatcher he is outside working on chain saws.

This entire conversation between dispatch and mom is just odd. Bottom line is he fled.

Listen to the entire call.

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Kam 11 months ago

Kat, you might want to do some more research. There are more facts that you don't have. However, you are entitled to your opinion based on what is public knowledge at this point.

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Kat 11 months ago

Do tell. I am open to changing my opinion based on facts I was not privvy to.

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Kat 11 months, 1 week ago

Agree with Houghton. GCPD took part in the capture of the rapist/robber (felon) in Duluth last week. He was taken into custody without incident. He had only been out of prison a short time after serving 5 years of a ten year sentence. He probably didn't want to go back. Obviously he weighed the consequences of trying to run or resist. People that choose a lifestyle that puts them in a position of having to go to court/jail/probation, have no one to blame but themselves. They may not have murdered someone, but they won't think twice about breaking in to your house and stealing to support their drug habits. This guy had a history in another state as well. Educate yourself before judging the actions of the police.

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Veryconcernedcitizen 11 months, 1 week ago

I think the question here is, Is society better with or without this dude? I choose without. Judging from the news articles I think the police acted in an appropriate manner. What does it say when your own mother wants you put in jail? I have dealt with drug addicts and they are dangerous no matter how loving and sweet their family says they are. They are unpredictable and will do just about anything to support their addiction. I'm assuming the police told him to stop then he got in his truck and tried to flee. He hit a parked car and then an officer. Police tried to tase him and it didn't work. That sounds like someone who is dangerous and unpredictable. I think killing him was the last option they had available. I expect the cops to stop this dude from getting away plain and simple. I don't want this monster out on the streets with me and my family. This guy had a simple choice to make and he decided to make the wrong one. It doesn't matter what he was wanted for. The simple fact is that he was wanted. Whether you are a murderer or speeder you need to give up when the cops order you to.

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Don_Coyote 11 months, 1 week ago

Please post your qualifications as a supreme being to declare that society is better off with the loss of this man's life. Hell, let's just dispose of all those pesky lawyers and judges and just let the police execute anyone with a warrant and previous record.

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news2me 11 months, 1 week ago

The mother said her son was on several Most Wanted lists. Pike is responsible for his own death.

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ngwinnett 11 months, 1 week ago

HonestIngine, could you please validate your claim of a cover up please? Provide one example of the police department being involved in any type of past effort to cover up their misconduct. If you can, maybe the county administration will respond and I will gladly apologize. Having lived in Gwinnett County for some time, I am unaware of any police cover ups.

I do have to ask, are you pcjohn will a new user name? Your posts, or trolling, seem very similar to his. Again, if you have any facts, post them. If not, you are simply attacking hard working men and women who risk their own safety to help others. Even yours should the need arise.

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ngwinnett 11 months, 1 week ago

HonestIngine, could you please validate your claim of a cover up please? Provide one example of the police department being involved in any type of past effort to cover up their misconduct. If you can, maybe the county administration will respond and I will gladly apologize. Having lived in Gwinnett County for some time, I am unaware of any police cover ups.

I do have to ask, are you pcjohn with a new user name? Your posts, or trolling, seem very similar to his. Again, if you have any facts, post them. If not, you are simply attacking hard working men and women who risk their own safety to help others. Even yours should the need arise.

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CharlesH 11 months ago

The police did what they were trained to do. I think it is tasteless for the Reporter to publish the name of the person that made the 911 call. This Mom was trying to help her son by getting him put in jail so he could not have access to drugs and get him off of them. Now she is probably blaming herself for his death. She does not need this announced to the public. Even though the son is to blame, I am sure she is taking it on herself.

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