Police: Grovetown man shot and killed after charging towards officers with replica gun

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

ATHENS, G.a.(WRDW/WAGT)-- An officer involved shooting leads to the death of a 34-year-old Grovetown man. Athens Police shot the man after they say he refused to drop his firearm-- an airsoft replica style handgun.

In a Saturday statement, Athens-Clarke County Police identified the man as Thomas Wayne Swinford. His last known address was Grovetown, Georgia.

The seven ACCPD officers who fired their weapons are Officer C.J. Bidinger, Officer First Class William Greenlow, Officer Claude Johnson, Corporal Alex Leder, Sergeant Jon McIlvaine, Officer Joshua Santos and Officer Roger Williams.

GBI is currently investigating the Friday shooting on West Lake Drive in Athens. Shortly before 6:30 p.m., officers responded to an individual who was believed to be armed. Police say Thomas Wayne Swinford brandished the weapon in a threatening manner. When officers told Swinford to drop the firearm, he did not. According to police, he instead charged at them with what was believed to be a gun in his hand pointing at the officers.

Seven officers shot at the 34-year-old. ACCPD says they gave first aid immediately then took Swinford to the hospital where he later died.

The GBI investigation revealed that Swinford was in possession of and brandished an airsoft replica style handgun.

All seven of the officers are on administrative leave with pay as the GBI continues to investigate.