GBI Investigates an Officer Involved Shooting involving Georgia State Patrol in Atlanta

January 4, 2016

Atlanta, GA – On Friday, January 1, 2016 the GBI’s Atlanta Regional Office was requested by the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) to conduct an officer involved shooting investigation that occurred on Collier Road at about 3:00 PM, during the capture of an individual wanted by Cobb Police for arson.

Preliminary information indicates that at about 2:45 PM, GSP became involved in a vehicle pursuit that was originally initiated by the Cobb County Police Department in an attempt to apprehend an individual who attempted to set fire at a propane tank exchange area at a Cobb County business. The individual, later identified as Thomas Edward Cauthorn IV, 35, was observed by a National Park Service Ranger attempting to set the fire.  Cobb Police were called to the scene and located Cauthorn driving a black Chevrolet Suburban and attempted to stop him. Cauthorn fled and a vehicle chase ensued.  Cobb Police discontinued their pursuit as the chase was leaving Cobb County and entering into Atlanta. A police lookout was broadcast for Cauthorn at about 2:45 PM at which point GSP became involved. While in the 400 block of Collier Road, Cauthorn crashed his Suburban near a parking garage. The troopers instructed Cauthorn to exit his vehicle. Cauthorn did not comply with their commands and appeared to reach into the console area of the vehicle. Cauthorn reportedly exited the vehicle with his hands concealed inside his coat pockets. Cauthorn quickly removed one hand from his jacket and pointed in the direction of the other trooper.  Trooper Brian Blankenship fired one shot at Cauthorn, who fled and was caught by Trooper Blankenship at which point there was a scuffle. During the scuffle another shot was fired by Trooper Blankenship. Trooper Blankenship also fired his Taser at Cauthorn, but it had no effect.  After another brief foot chase, Cauthorn was captured and taken into custody.  Cauthorn had been shot once in the right arm.  The troopers provided first aid to Cauthorn and emergency medical assistance was dispatched to the scene.  Cauthorn was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment.  Cauthorn is in ICU and his injuries are reported as non-life threatening. Cauthorn was not armed during the incident. Neither of the troopers were injured or required medical attention.

Cauthorn has been charged in Cobb County for Arson in the 1st degree, aggravated assault on police officer, felony eluding and numerous other traffic related charges. 

The investigation is active and ongoing. There are more interviews and investigative actions to be done before the investigation is complete.  The GBI will conduct its independent investigation to determine what occurred during the incident. When the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for any action they deem appropriate.


Contact: Scott Dutton - 404/270-8330