Kingsland, GA – A Kingsland police sergeant who fatally shot an armed suspect while saving a hostage in 2020 will not be criminally charged for his role in the incident.
Brunswick Judicial District Attorney Keith Higgins announced Tuesday that his office will not be filing charges against Kingsland Police Department (KPD) Sergeant Paul George in connection with the Aug. 23, 2020 officer-involved shooting death of 47-year-old Gearil Williams, The Brunswick News reported.
“While any loss of life is always tragic, the officer’s use of force in this instance was justified to protect a life,” Higgins said in a statement.
The incident began at approximately 11 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2020, when the KPD received a report that someone was screaming inside the Camden Way apartments located on Gross Road, WJXT reported.
Officers responded to the scene and spotted a suspect through a window.
He was later identified as Williams.
Investigators said Williams was holding a knife, and that a woman located in the room with him appeared to be in distress, WJXT reported.
As the officers were making their way into the apartment, the victim took off running into a bedroom with Williams following close behind her, police said.
The armed suspect then barricaded himself and the hostage inside the room, WJXT reported.
Sgt. George headed outside and ended up breaking out a bedroom window to reach the victim.
That’s when he realized Williams had grabbed the woman and was threatening her with a knife, The Brunswick News reported.
Sgt. George ordered Williams to drop his weapon, at which point he yelled at the officers to shoot him, according to WJXT.
Williams began swinging the knife downwards as the sergeant fired his weapon.
The suspect died from his wounds at the scene, WJXT reported.
The woman he assaulted was transported to the hospital with cuts to her face.
None of the officers were injured during the incident.
Investigators said the encounter was recorded by police bodycams, according to WLTV.
“The Kingsland Police Department understands the value of every human life and will work to maintain transparency throughout this investigation,” the police department said shortly after the fatal officer-involved shooting. “We will do our best to provide information as it is available to be released and we appreciate the community’s patience while this investigation proceeds. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this incident.”
Higgins said he spoke with community leaders and Williams’ family members prior to announcing his decision not to file charges against Sgt. George, The Brunswick News reported.
Williams had a lengthy criminal history, to include arrests for kidnapping, assaults, weapons, and drugs, according to WJXT.
He previously served six years in prison.