Troubling Details Revealed in Georgia Police Shooting

Seconds after two veteran Glynn County police officers fired eight bullets into the car of an unarmed woman they had been following in an erratic, low-speed pursuit, neither officer checked to see whether she was alive.


The steak house waitress would binge on cocaine or whatever drug was available. Caught with a crack pipe, Small had been kicked out of a Brunswick halfway house the same day she moved in, just two days before she was shot, McGehee said.

Small was supposed to call him on June 18, 2010. Her call never came, McGehee told the agents.

The pursuit began when a Glynn police officer responded to a report of a woman shooting up heroin or cocaine in a car at the Embassy Suites parking lot at Glynn Place Mall.

Officer Peter Farrick told the GBI he found Small disheveled and glassy-eyed behind the wheel of the Buick. Small was picking at the empty car seat and looking under the console. When Farrick asked her to turn off the car, she instead slowly drove off, he said.

Both Sasser and Simpson were at police headquarters when the pursuit began. Sasser responded because he was the shift supervisor. Simpson told GBI agents he went out intending to deploy "stop sticks" to disable Small's car. At one point, Small nearly hit Simpson head-on during the chase.

It would take 30 minutes before Small, Sasser and Simpson met face-to-face.

Ignoring other motorists, pedestrians and traffic signals, Small led state troopers and police four miles through business parking lots, up and down residential streets and across yards until she careened down Armstrong Avenue.

After three attempts, Malone successfully used his patrol car to spin Small's car around and shove it off the street in the 200 block of Armstrong. Sasser quickly pulled up to the front of her car.

Boxed-in and with four tires shredded to the rims, Small had nowhere to go.

'Let me get her out'

The Buick came to rest with its trunk about two feet from a utility pole and mailbox. Malone's patrol car was jammed against the sedan's right rear quarter panel. Sasser later described his patrol car as "hood to hood" with her car. His front bumper was nearly touching hers, the GBI investigation showed.

There was a 73-inch-wide gap, however, on the passenger side of Small's car. Her Buick was about 70 inches wide. With little room to maneuver, Small tried anyway.

Throwing the car into reverse, she slammed into Malone's car, the utility pole and mailbox then drove straight forward into Sasser's car. Ignoring Sasser's shouted commands to "stop" and "get out of the car," Small ping-ponged back and forth, only moving about a foot, maybe two, in either direction.

Sasser was closest to her. Shielded by his open patrol car door, he was about 71/2 feet from where Small sat frantically working the gear shift on the steering column. To his left, Simpson was about 10 feet from Small. A third Glynn officer, Jason Dixon, stood to Simpson's left.

Malone made a dash to snatch Small out of the car. He told the GBI that Small tried to back into him but she hit the utility pole and mailbox instead. Malone retreated to the safety of his patrol car when he realized the Glynn officers were pointing their guns in his direction.

"Let me go in and get her out of the car," Malone is heard saying on the police videos after she reversed into his car, the pole and mailbox a second time.

"No. No. If she moves the car again, shoot her," Simpson replied.

The officers, Doering said, were trying to protect Malone because they didn't know if Small had a gun.

It's inconsistent with Glynn police training to run up to a suspect's car in those situations, he said.

"It's an ambush waiting to happen," the chief said. "You don't run up to the car."

Suddenly, gunfire erupted, the videotapes show.

Sasser and Simpson fired eight .45-caliber bullets at Small through the front windshield of her car as it lurched forward, again straight into Sasser's car.

Two bullets struck Small in the face and she slumped in the driver's seat.

Dixon walked up, looked in the driver's window at Small, then walked away. Neither Dixon, Sasser, Simpson nor any other Glynn officer ever touched Small to see if she had a pulse, the videos show.

"I don't know why they didn't. It's probably because in his assessment, Officer Dixon deemed there was nothing he could do for her," Doering said.

State troopers, however, checked her then administered emergency first aid until county paramedics took over about six minutes after the shooting.

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