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Outside agency to probe fatal shooting involving Elmore County deputy

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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ELMORE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office has turned over the investigation into a fatal shooting involving one of its deputies to another agency.

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office will take the lead after a man was killed in front of his parents’ home Wednesday night on Timber Trail, located in the Redland Community of Elmore County.

“Nobody ever wants to be put in that position,” said Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin.

The initial call was for medical assistance. It came in around 5:30 p.m. An ambulance crew responded to the home and realized fairly quickly that law enforcement needed to respond, as well.

“Domestic trouble out here. Y’all might want to looking into coming out here,” Franklin quoted one of the crew members as saying.

Four deputies responded and found a 32-year old man, later identified as Jonathan Pears, armed with a machete-like knife in his hand. The man’s father first came out. Not far behind him, Pears walked out with the weapon.

“The deputy kept repeating, telling him “Hey, stop. You need to put that down. Stop.”,” said Franklin.

The sheriff said one of his deputies, who has not been identified by name, felt he had no choice but to fire. Pears was struck three times in the upper body and died on the scene.

“And no one relishes the fact one day having to do something like that. That’s terrible,” Franklin said.

Now, a separate investigation is underway, one conducted by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office at Franklin’s request.

Despite the request for an independent probe, Franklin says there is no doubt in his mind his deputy, a veteran with nine years on the force, handled the situation just as he was trained to do.

“And he’s actually coming up on his four days off, so he’ll be gone for those four days, and we’re hoping by then, the reports will come back, the forensic reports will come back,” Franklin explained.

Franklin said he isn’t sure how long the independent investigation will take but he doesn’t expect it’ll be long. Once it’s completed, it will be turned over to the Elmore County district attorney’s office, which will present it to a grand jury, perhaps as early as October.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to indicate the incident happened in the Redland Community, not the Emerald Mountain neighborhood or subdivision.

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