By George Mathis
October 17, 2011
A man shot and killed by a MARTA police officer Saturday night was armed, transportation agency officials said Monday.
MARTA spokeswoman Cara Hodgson said Monday that Officer Robert Wald0, 31, fired the shots that killed Joetavius Stafford, 19, of Atlanta, outside the Vine City rail station.
Waldo, placed on administrative leave with pay, was “confronting an armed suspect” when he fired, said Hodgson in a press release.
The shooting was near the Georgia Dome, where high school football games were played Saturday night.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues to look into the case.
Joetavius Stafford’s brother, Rodney Stafford, said he witnessed the shooting and that his brother was shot three times in the back.
Rodney Stafford told Channel 2 Action News his brother was involved in an altercation at the train station when a shot was fired into the air by someone in the crowd. Rodney Stafford said he then saw a MARTA police officer run toward the fight and shoot at his brother.
“They were like, ‘Where the gun at? Where the gun at?’” he told Channel 2. “So after that, I heard a gunshot. Pow. Everybody started running. As he was drawing his gun, I was turning back around. My brother threw his hands up. MARTA police shot him in the back. Pow. And my brother lying on the ground, just looking at me and I was looking at his gunshot wound. As I’m looking at that, MARTA police shot him two more times in the back,” said Stafford.
MARTA officials would not comment on the allegations.
A Fulton medical examiner said Monday an autopsy was complete, but would not reveal its details until they were shared with Stafford’s family.