Decatur, GA (January 30, 2024) – At the request of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Police, GBI agents are investigating an officer involved shooting in DeKalb County, Georgia. One man was shot and killed. No officers were injured in this incident.  

The preliminary information indicates John Robert Smith, age 58, of Decatur, GA, arrived at the VA Hospital in Decatur on the evening of January 29, 2024. Smith was displaying suicidal ideations.  Hospital staff took Smith into the emergency room for assistance. Once inside the ER, Smith pulled out a knife and threatened to harm himself. VA police officers responded to the ER and attempted to get Smith to put the knife down. Smith refused to drop the knife and eventually advanced towards a staff member while holding the knife.  An officer shot Smith. Smith was pronounced dead on the scene by the medical staff. Smith’s body will be taken to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. 

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. Once complete, the case file will be given to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for review. 


Director, Office of Public & Governmental Affairs Nelly Miles