Georgia Police Under Investigation for Shooting at Kids Running Home to Dad

Georgia's state-wide law enforcement agency has launched an investigation after a police officer allegedly shot at a group of children, including a 9-year-old.

At around 8 a.m. on Saturday, an officer with the Waycross Police Department saw a traffic violation at the intersection of Howe and Brunell Streets in the city of Waycross, and tried to take down its license plate information, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) statement.

The vehicle headed towards Walters and Greenwood Street, when three children aged 9, 12, and 14 years old left the vehicle and ran off. The vehicle stopped. The officer followed the trio in his vehicle. A second officer approached the vehicle from the front, and it drove toward him, according to the GBI, and the officer fired multiple shots at the vehicle.

Two boys aged 15 and 16 years old got out of the vehicle while it was in drive, according to the GBI. The vehicle then stopped further up the road. A "minor" altercation then broke out between the second officer and the 15-year-old. The teenager was handcuffed, and treated by the emergency medical services for "minor injuries from the altercation."

The first officer returned to the scene of the traffic stop after hearing gunshots. No officers were injured.

Images from the incident seen by News4Jax show blood dripping down the handcuffed 15-year-old's face.

In a video shared on Facebook, the children's father, Dominique Goodman Sr., claimed police pistol-whipped his son.

Police told News4Jax two teenagers were arrested "based on circumstances surrounding the incident." The children's family told the broadcaster they were held for "hours."

Goodman told News4Jax his children were driving home from Walmart when an officer began following them.

The 9, 12, and 14-year-olds said the officer did not turn on his vehicle's lights to signal they were being pulled over until they had entered their neighborhood, near Walters and Greenwood streets.

The older teenagers became frightened, and asked the youngest children to get out the car and fetch their father, according to the 12-year-old. She said the officer then opened fire.

Goodman said his children were driving home to collect him so they could go to a football game two of them were playing in. He recalled how he heard gunshots near his home, looked out back and saw his three youngest children running from gunshots, and went down the street and saw the older teenagers on the ground.

The youngest child said the officer fired his gun seven times, with one going past his face, and hitting a swing. News4Jax reporters found bullet holes in the car.

Goodman told News4Jax: "They shot at a car full of unarmed minors. A car full of unarmed children. Like who in the world can't see that this is a 9-year-old? Who can't see that this is a child? They look like children.

"They are babies. What was the purpose of shooting?"

Goodman wrote on Facebook: "Protect and serve what?? They tried to kill my kids!!!! No understanding!! Only JUSTICE!!"

Waycross police told News4Jax the 15-year-old was charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, felony obstruction of an officer and removal or attempt to remove a firearm from an officer. The 16-year-old was also charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, reckless driving, aggravated assault on a police officer, driving without a license, and a stop sign violation.

The officers involved were put on administrative leave until the GBI investigation is completed.

Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta attorney and president of the NAACP Atlanta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Waycross NAACP contacted him following the incident. The NAACP is calling for the officer's body and dash cam footage of be released so they can launch a separate investigation.

Griggs said the organization was concerned by the level of force used. "I'm very concerned that shots were fired while children were involved," he said.

The GBI said in a statement its investigation is ongoing, and asked anyone with information is asked to contact GBI at (912) 389-4103 or the Waycross Police Department at (912) 287-2921. The investigation will be handed over to the Ware County District Attorney's Office for review once it has ended.