Patient shot dead by police officer at hospital

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – A suicidal man wielding a knife was shot and killed by an officer at Joseph Maxwell Cleland Atlanta VA Medical Center on Clairmont Road in Decatur, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI). The incident occurred on January 29 when 58-year-old John Robert Smith of Decatur arrived at the hospital. Smith was reportedly expressing suicidal ideations upon his arrival.

Eric Sherrod, a witness at the scene, stated he saw around eight officers, one of whom had a gun drawn out, facing a man brandishing what looked like a machete.

GBI shares that VA police officers pleaded with Smith to drop the knife. However, Smith refused and reportedly charged at a staff member. It was at this point that an officer shot Smith. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Sherrod recounted the frightening spectacle of witnessing the gun go off six to eight times and smoke bellowing from it, calling it an unparalleled experience for veterans who have been frequenting the VA center for decades.

The medical center conveyed its condolences to those affected by the tragic incident and stated the matter is now under investigation by the GBI.

The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct Smith’s autopsy. Post GBI’s independent investigation, the case file will be transferred to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for evaluation.

It remains unknown whether Smith was a military veteran. The healthcare center provides primary care and diverse health services.