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Nicholas Thomas autopsy report released

SMYRNA, GA (WXIA) -- New developments emerged Friday in a controversial officer-involved shooting.


Twenty-three-year-old Nicholas Thomas died in March after a confrontation with Smyrna Police at a Goodyear Service Center in Vinings.

On Friday, 11Alive's Duffie Dixon pored over the autopsy report.

Thomas was working at the Goodyear Service Center, driving a customer's Maserati around the back of the building to be serviced when police officers showed up.

The just-released autopsy report showed it was one gunshot to Thomas' "right upper back" that traveled through his chest and struck his lung and aorta, killing him. The gun that fired the bullet was a .40 caliber Glock, belonging to Smyrna Police Sergeant Kenneth Owens.

"I just believe that the officer jumped the gun and shot when he should not have shot my son," said Nicholas' father, Huey Thomas.

Here's what police say happened.

They were trying to serve two warrants on Thomas at the service center, where he was working. Thomas was behind the wheel of a customer's Maserati when they arrived, and tried to drive away.

The cop yelled and said to get out of the car, get out of the car now, and he just drove off. Then he put it in reverse, and there was nothing the cop could do from there.

Police said two officers were directly behind the car. Fearing for their safety, Sergeant Owens, positioned off to the side, shot Thomas.

Officers than used bean-bag rounds to smash out the driver's side window. Thomas was dead.

According to the Thomas family's attorney, the warrants the officers were serving were for two misdemeanors – possession of marijuana and fleeing police.

"From day one, they've tried to make him out to be – he's a 23 year-old; he acted like a 23 year-old, how a 23 year-old acts," Huey Thomas said.

Just this week, Thomas' parents met with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which investigated the case, asking to see surveillance video of the shooting. They were denied.

The case is now in the hands of the Cobb County District Attorney who says he'll present it to a grand jury next month.

Noted in the autopsy report, while Nicholas Thomas' death is classified as a homicide, "it does not necessarily indicate improper actions on the part of police."

Also noted in the autopsy report, Thomas tested positive for marijuana in his system.


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