A Habersham County deputy involved in a fatal traffic stop Sunday has been identified. According to information obtained from the GBI, Deputy Kris Hall initiated the traffic stop that ended in the death of 24-year-old Christopher Collins of Cleveland.
Officials refuse to say whether Hall is the officer who shot Collins. The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) has not publicly identified the officer involved. “We are not releasing any information pertaining to the deputy(s) involved in this incident until after the GBI/DA’s office investigation is complete. The deputy(s) is currently on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation,” says Habersham Sheriff’s Lt. Matthew Wurtz.
Wurtz told the media on Sunday that the deputy involved in the shooting has been with the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office for “a little while” and is a veteran law enforcement officer.
Collins was shot in the driveway of a residence on US 441 South. The Ford Explorer he was driving was stopped near the top of the drive by a locked gate.
Deputy Hall initiated the traffic stop after a lookout was posted for Collins and the Ford Explorer he was driving. Collins was being sought in connection with an armed aggravated assault in White County and attempted carjacking in Toccoa.
Toccoa Police Chief Tim Jarrell told WNEG News officers were called to Pruitt Health (Toccoa Nursing Home) on Falls Road at 8:39 a.m. Sunday in reference to the carjacking. “The suspect description matched that of the one from White County,” he said. “The white male suspect was unsuccessful in taking the vehicle from Toccoa, but did produce a handgun before he left.”
Less than one hour later, Deputy Hall attempted to stop Collins at Rosewood Drive near the Tom Arrendale Interchange at GA 15 and US 441.
The GBI says its preliminary investigation revealed Collins failed to comply with the deputy’s repeated commands to show his hands. Investigators say Collins then exited the vehicle with a firearm and that’s when the deputy fired his duty weapon at Collins, striking him.
Collins was pronounced dead at the scene. The deputy involved in the shooting was not injured.
Wurtz said Sunday there did not appear to be any relationship between Collins and the homeowner in whose drive he was killed.
(VIDEO from scene Sunday, August 13, 2017)
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate at the request of the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office. That investigation is ongoing.
“The GBI will continue its independent investigation to determine what occurred during the incident,” according to GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles. Once the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.