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Georgia Homeowner Killed in Fruitless Drug Raid

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #855)
Consequences of Prohibition

A Georgia SWAT team shot and killed an armed homeowner during a September 24 drug raid sparked by the word of a self-confessed meth addict and burglar who had robbed the property the previous day. No drugs were found. David Hooks, 59, becomes the 34th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to WMAZ TV 13, Laurens County sheriff's deputies with the drug task force and special response team (SWAT team) conducted a no-knock search on Hooks' home in East Dublin on the evening of the 24th. When the raiders burst through the back door of the residence, they encountered Hooks carrying a shotgun. Multiple deputies opened fire, shooting and killing Hooks.

According to his family, Hooks was not a drug user or seller, but was a successful businessman who ran a construction company that, among other things, did work on US military bases. Hooks had passed background checks and had a security clearance.

The search warrant to raid Hooks' home came about after a local meth addict named Rodney Garrett came onto the property two nights earlier and stole one of Hooks' vehicles. Garrett claimed that before he stole the vehicle, he broke into another vehicle on the property and stole a plastic bag. Garrett claimed he thought the bag contained money, but when he later examined it and discovered it contained 20 grams of meth and a digital scale, he "became scared for his safety" and turned himself in to the sheriff's office.

Hooks' family, however, said that Garrett had been identified as the burglar and a warrant issued for his arrest the day after the burglary. He was arrested the following day; the raid happened that same night.

Garrett's claims were the primary basis for the search warrant. But investigators also claimed they were familiar with the address from a 2009 investigation in which a suspect claimed he had supplied ounces of meth to Hooks, who resold it. Nothing apparently ever came of that investigation, but the five-year-old uncorroborated tip made it into the search warrant application.

And it was enough to get a search warrant from a compliant magistrate. Hooks family attorney Mitchell Shook said that even though the warrant was not a no-knock warrant, the Laurens County SWAT team did not announce its presence, but just broke down the back door of the residence.

Shook said David Hooks' wife, Teresa, looked outside and saw people with hoods on the evening of the raid and woke up her husband. Fearing the burglar or burglars who had struck two nights earlier had returned, Hooks armed himself.

"David and Teresa were under the impression that the burglars were back and that a home invasion was imminent," the family said in a statement. "David armed himself to protect his wife and his home. Despite the fact that the illegal search warrant did not have a 'no knock' clause, the Drug Task Force and SRT members broke down the back door of the family's home and entered firing in excess of 16 shots. These shots were from multiple firearms and from both 40 caliber handguns and assault rifles. Several shots were fired through a blind wall at David with the shooters not knowing who or what was on the other side of the wall. The trajectory of the shots, coupled with the number of shots infers a clear intent on behalf of the shooters to kill David Hooks."

"The task force and the SRT members broke down the back door of the family's home and entered, firing an excessive sixteen shots. There is no evidence that David Hooks ever fired a weapon" said Shook.

Nor was there any evidence he was involved in drugs. As Shook emphasized, after the shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an intensive 44-hour search of the property and came up with not one item of contraband.

Hooks' family is called on the Laurens County district attorney to do its own investigation of the killing after he receives the GBI's report and "take whatever action the law and justice demands." It is also calling on Sheriff W.A. "Bill" Harrell to immediately suspend all the officers involved until the investigations and any prosecutions are settled.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


The policy is deviancy amplifying.... what ever can go wrong will, and no amount of 'preparedness' or 'planning for risk mitigation' can eliminate it. It is the bloody policy that is dysfunctional.

No drug

has ever

picked up a gun

and shot someone.

Whereas PROHIBITION has a legacy of death by ballistic invasion. The Policy  is almost defined by its arms race.

SWAT is a symptom of failure....  not a measure of success.


Thu, 10/09/2014 - 8:11pm Permalink
420dude (not verified)

If the knuckleheads of this country insist on fighting the laughable drug war, how about NOT breaking into peoples' homes at night.  This is what burglars do.  How about confronting the person at work, or in some other public place like civil human beings.  How about rolling up to the house in daylight and shouting with a megaphone to come out with your hands up.  These are just simple ideas that might save lives.  I'm sure there are better ideas, but I haven't put that much thought into it.  The point is, something needs to be done differently.  This sort of thing has happened many times in the past, and there is absolutely no reason for it.  Everyone involved in this botched operation should be put on trial for murder. 

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 2:09am Permalink
tacoPickels (not verified)

In reply to by 420dude (not verified)

Amen but there too stupid for that and corrupt I do not know how the law enforcment is not here in dublin ga but when I came in contact with them literally they are worse than the criminals they arrest 

Mon, 08/10/2020 - 11:43pm Permalink
Anonymousggg (not verified)

Murderers. Everyone involved in this. There is no reason at all to injure anyone - whether they be an innocent bystander or a big time drug dealer - the punishment for having drugs should never be more harmful than the drug itself! The drug task force needs to go to any of the gas stations or grocery stores or drug stores and arrest the people there who sell a drug that kills 500,000 people a year. Cigarettes.
Mon, 10/13/2014 - 9:58pm Permalink
Dennis Richardson (not verified)

What will police officers and their supervisors do or say when such incompetent law enforcement results in the Creator of the Universe making accusations of murder on Judgment Day?  Such murder will never be repented of.  I would say that many such cases are going to lead to no acknowledgement of criminal behavior.  This is precisely what will bring a Judgment of murder by the Judge of ALL the Earth and eternal damnation.  Who is more out of control unemployed and angry black men or extremely over zealous swat police officers. 

There is going to be HELL to pay for such murder.

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 2:36am Permalink
AnonymouslyGrrr (not verified)

Ryan Fredrick. Virginia look it up. Only difference... a police officer was killed. All because a snitch and a couple pot plants.
Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:28pm Permalink

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