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Fatal shooting of protester at site of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center justified, DA says

Crime and public safety DeKalb County Trending

Fatal shooting of protester at site of Atlanta Public Safety Training Center justified, DA says

Manuel "Tortugita" Teran(Gabe Eisen)

By Jennifer Lifsey and Zac Summers, Atlanta News First

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — A special prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting of a protester at the future site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in January has determined the lethal force used by GSP troopers was justified.

According to the report, a joint law enforcement operation was being conducted at the site on Jan. 18. During the operation, Georgia State troopers encountered Manuel Paez Teran, who they say refused to comply with their commands to come out of a tent.

The report goes on to say that the troopers used a “less lethal” device known as a pepperball launcher to get Teran to leave the tent. That’s when they say Teran responded by shooting four times with a 9mm pistol through the tent, striking and seriously injuring a GSP trooper. Six troopers then returned fire, resulting in Teran’s death.

The report states that no charges will be brought against the troopers involved in the shooting.

In a statement, the attorneys of Teran’s family said the district attorney’s office is going against its former word by not releasing the report’s underlying evidence — including photos, crime scene drawings and forensic lab reports.

“We have waited eight months for the truth. We are in pain. We want to hear the interviews. We want our experts to review the lab tests. We want our questions answered,” Belkis Teran, the protester’s mother, said. “This report does not answer our questions. How long must we wait?”

A spokesperson for the GBI told Atlanta News First the agency cannot release its investigative findings at this time.

“The GBI investigative file for the January 18 shooting incident near the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is not being released at this time,” a spokesperson said in an email to Atlanta News First. “The investigative findings are part of a pending criminal investigation and RICO prosecution by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.”

Since January’s deadly shooting incident, violence at the site continues to cast a controversial light on the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Opponents are now working to get a ballot question on the proposed site to let voters decide whether the plan should move forward.

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.