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Grand Jury clears deputy in fatal shooting
Richmond County, Ga.
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A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man in February 2013 has been cleared of any criminal charge.

The Richmond County grand jury found insufficient probable cause to warrant an indictment against Deputy Michael Woodard.

Woodard shot 21-year-old Chaz Williams in the Fox Trace Drive apartment he shared with his girlfriend and her brother.

According to the Georgia Bu­reau of Investigation report reviewed by The Au­gusta Chronicle on Monday, Woodard and two other deputies went to Williams’ apartment to take him into custody early Feb. 1.

Earlier that night, Williams had fled a traffic stop, first in his vehicle and then by foot after he crashed near the apartment complex.

When the three officers entered the apartment, they found Williams in the bathroom with a knife cutting his neck, they reported. They yelled at Williams to drop the knife, but he lunged toward Woodard, who fired five shots from his .40-caliber handgun, according to the GBI report.

At least one neighbor reported hearing “drop it” before the gunshots, according to the GBI report.

Williams had a warrant pending for his arrest in connection with a traffic violation in Peachtree City, Ga., according to the officer who tried to pull Wil­liams over that night for ma­king an improper lane change.

Williams’ friends and his mother told GBI agents that he served a year in Iraq and was believed to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He had attempted suicide Dec. 31, 2011, according to the GBI report.
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