A father is demanding answers after a Coweta County, Georgia, deputy shot his homeless son in the head, leaving him critically injured.
“He was minding his own business,” and ended up “in fear for his life,” the father identified as Irwin Bolton Sr. told 11 Alive News.
Nicholas Bolton was sleeping at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in a shopping center parking lot in the suburban Atlanta county when body camera video NBC News obtained shows a deputy walk up to Bolton’s white SUV and start questioning him.
“Do you have a reason to be here?” the deputy asked.
Although Bolton’s response couldn’t be heard, it seems he said no, because the deputy responded, “Then, you’re loitering.”
Authorities told local Atlanta station 11 Alive that at one point a deputy asked Bolton to show his ID and to step out of his SUV and he refused both requests.
“Look man, just go ahead and step out, so I don’t have to drag you out,” the deputy said in the video.
Bolton instead drove away and, after leading deputies on a chase that ended with them using their vehicles to stop him, a deputy identified as John Collins shot him through the windshield as Bolton, trapped by the deputies’ cars, sat in his vehicle with his wheels still spinning.
The sheriff’s office says the shooting was necessary and justified. However, the family’s attorney Tanya Miller said no one’s life was in danger at the time. She urges everyone to watch the video closely, telling the publication, “I think that you can see the video and see that the car was not moving in the video you can see it for yourself. The car was at a rest.”
Bolton Sr. believes his son was jumping out of his sleep and wasn’t fully aware of what was happening before the officer fired the shot. “He jumped out of his car in two seconds and fired a kill-shot into that windshield, striking him in his head. It’s a miracle that he is alive.”
Collins, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 16 months, is on leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigates, Channel 2 reported.