Skip to comments.Georgia Baptist pastor killed in botched drug sting
Posted on 09/05/2009 7:35:34 AM PDT by bamahead
LAVONIA, Ga. (ABP) -- Members of a Southern Baptist church in Northeast Georgia want answers about the police-shooting death of their 29-year-old pastor in a drug-sting operation gone wrong.
Jonathan Ayers, pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, Ga., died during the night of Sept. 1, hours after being shot by undercover police officers outside a gas station where he had just gotten money from an ATM machine.
The Stephens County Sheriff's Office initially identified the shooting victim as a suspect involved in a drug transaction. Later officials clarified that drug enforcement agents were not investigating Ayers, but a woman who was riding in his car whom he had dropped off moments earlier.
Officials said the officers didn't know who Ayers was and wanted to talk to him. They were in plain clothes, but they claim they wore badges around their necks and identified themselves as police when they asked him to open his car door. Instead, they say, Ayers put the car in reverse and fled, striking one officer and causing minor injuries.
Police fired at the fleeing vehicle. One bullet struck Ayers in the abdomen. He managed to drive away but crashed about a half mile away. Police found him conscious and alert, but he died several hours later after surgery.
Police said after striking the officer, Ayers drove his car toward another officer in a "threatening manner." Friends and family believe Ayers thought the men were going to rob him and that he got scared and tried to run away.
Police have not identified the woman, who is charged with selling cocaine. Ayers' sister, Rebecca Floyd, said her younger brother was known to help strangers.
"I could bet my life on it that he did not know her," Floyd told television station WYFF News 4. "I could bet my life on it, because that's the kind of person he was. He was a good Christian man . His goal was to lead souls to Christ."
Roger Shirley, a member of Shoal Creek, told the Anderson, S.C., Independent Mail that Ayers had led 18 people to Christ and baptized 12 in the little more than a year since he became pastor of the struggling congregation, founded in 1789. Shirley said he believed the pastor was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ayers had recently started a blog, where he described having "three loves in my life: Jesus Christ, my wife, Abby, and the Church." The couple's first baby is due in February.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. The officers involved are on administrative leave with pay.
Ayers' brother-in-law, Matt Carpenter, told AccessNorthGa.com that the family was first informed Ayers died in a traffic accident, and then that he had been shot. Hours later, they learned he died in an officer-involved shooting.
A surveillance video shows Ayers calmly entering the store a few minutes before the shooting. A black Cadillac Escalade SUV pulls up next to a gas pump beside his car. A man jumps out before it comes to a complete stop. Ayers attempts to drive away, as officers chase after and fire shots at the car.
Ayers' funeral service is scheduled at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4, at Shoal Creek Baptist Church.
I don’t care what they have on a string around their necks, I probably wouldn’t submit to anyone not in uniform.
You don't want Barney, Goober, and Gomer on a "sting" SWAT team.....especially if Andy is out of town.
Maybe that’s what this guy thought.
Exactly right. Daylight donuts was closed, so they had to go hassle the locals. And they wonder why people today hate cops.
Useless trivia dept: Lavonia Ga. is the hometown of Otto Price, Christian music producer, bassist, most notably with DC Talk during their peak.
There is something odd about small towns having undercover SWAT teams.
Too many of these incidents gone bad involve non-uniformed officers, unmarked cars etc.
From the grainy video...the agents looked like masked men who could easily have been attempting a car jacking.
Also from the video, one of the agents is definiately limping after the Pastor's car backs up and wheels around.
I believe the pastor thought he was being robbed and tried to get away. The agents did not know that he was a pastor and thought he had backed over one of them in an attempt to flee and so opened fire.
RIP Pastor, God keep your soul and comfort your family, your wife and unborn child, your family, friends, and congregation. What a horrible mistake and set of circumstances.
Unless they are armed ONLY with these:
...and even then, there should be some adult supervision and they should have passed a course on the proper use of them.
We don't want one of them injured, complaining "I was cleaning it and it went off by accident".
Once police departments were allowed to classify vehicles as “deadly weapons”, they were legally justified in shooting anybody who so much as moves (points) a moving vehicle in their direction. The really scary part is that it seems the modern cop *WANTS* to use deadly force as soon as the standard of plausible justification has been met.That’s why it has become standard procedure to kill a persons dogs during the execution of a search warrant.
When they come running up yelling and pointing guns like a bunch of barbarians how can you know they are cops?
If the officers are doing their duty in the 'War on Drugs', they ought to be in uniform.
Gitmo is full of enemy combatants-- who weren't wearing uniforms.
If he was black or Muslim, then there would be race riots!
But since he is a white male Christian, the media will look the other way.
“When they come running up yelling and pointing guns like a bunch of barbarians how can you know they are cops?”
Because they are Federally licensed thugs, as compared to the more common freelance thugs.
Seems to me that our country needs a secret society that welds out justice in cases like this, since our justice department is unable or unwilling to deal with it.
Ok, to be factual I would like to see all reports internal and external from the Police, County Sheriff and State Justice Departments, before I condemn those that shot him then charging them with murder...from what I saw there is no excuse for these officers or anyone that works with them to do what I saw on the tape. This almost looks like an ambush or Car Jacking.
And one more thing regarding, ...striking one officer and causing minor injuries. Again from what I saw, either these two Stupid Clowns for cops are frign morons or a couple of fairies that deserved to be given the death penalty just on the lie of minor injuries...now you mean Officer Escalade was dented when they let the car roll into the street, this is the reason to kill someone.
Further, since when does playing Thugsky and Chump entitle two POS to Shaft someone under the color of law.
And the war on drugs claims another victim