On September 24, 2014, 59-year-old grandfather and business owner David Hooks was shot and killed in his East Dublin home by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). The shooting occurred as the LCSO served a search warrant late at night, on a family who had just been burglarized the previous night – and the search warrant was based on the word of the burglar. Yes, on the word of the burglar!
Mr. Hooks contacted the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) on September 23rd to report a burglary in which a vehicle, firearms, and fishing equipment were stolen from his property. Investigators were able to quickly to track down the suspect, Rodney Garrett, who had stolen another vehicle on September 19th and had been arrested for shoplifting on August 29th. However, it appears that after his August 29th arrest, Garrett was recruited to work as a confidential informant for the LCSO Drug Task Force. This meant that instead of turning himself in to the Sheriff’s Office, Garrett was permitted to contact deputies and arrange to meet them at an undisclosed location. There, he claimed that he had found methamphetamine in the vehicle that he stole from David Hooks. Less than six hours later, Deputy Chris Brewer of the LCSO Drug Task Force submitted an affidavit to Laurens County Magistrate Judge Faith Snell based on the information from Garrett and received a search warrant at 9:56 p.m. on September 24th.
The head of the Drug Task Force, Deputy Chris Brewer, sought a search warrant for Mr. Hooks’ property right away. Based on the word of an admitted thief and Deputy Brewer’s representations, Magistrate Judge Faith Snell granted the search warrant – but NOT the no-knock provision – at 9:56 p.m. on September 24th. Within the hour, the LCSO Special Response Team (equivalent to SWAT), along with Sheriff Bill Harrell himself, headed out to the Hooks residence in full raid gear and equipment.
Teresa Hooks, David’s wife, heard and saw at least one vehicle coming onto their property at a high rate of speed with the lights turned off. She saw men with hoods, camouflage, and weapons approaching the house. Frightened, she woke her husband, who went to the door with his shotgun. Though he never raised the shotgun from his side, and it would ultimately be found to have been unloaded, the deputies massed at the door opened fire on Mr. Hooks.
The search warrant was left in the kitchen of the home at 10:55 p.m. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation secured a second search warrant at 1:52 a.m., and the search continued for 44 hours. No contraband was located anywhere on the property.