District Attorney Higgins Announces Findings in 2020 Camden County Officer-Involved Shooting
23 March 2022
District Attorney Keith Higgins announced today that he would not pursue a criminal prosecution with regard to an incident between an officer with the Kingsland Police Department and Gearil L. Williams.
On August 23, 2020, at approximately 11:00 pm, Kingsland Police Department officers responded to a residence at Camden Way apartments in reference a 911 caller who had heard someone screaming. Upon arrival at the residence, the officers looked through a front window and saw a female sitting on a couch holding something to her face, and a male, later identified as Gearil L. Williams, sitting in a chair in the middle of the room. The officers identified themselves as police and instructed Mr. Williams to open the door. Mr. Williams refused, and moved to block the door, while the female was signaling to the officers to come in. While Mr. Williams was attempting to block the door, the female ran towards the rear of the apartment to a back bedroom. As the officers attempted to kick in the front door to gain entry, Mr. Williams ran toward the rear bedroom following the female. The officers heard the female screaming from the bedroom and attempted to enter; however, the door was blocked by Mr. Williams.
The officers ran outside to attempt to gain entry through the bedroom window and one ran back in the residence to continue to try to get in through the bedroom door. SGT George, one of the officers who ran outside, broke the bedroom window and observed Mr. Williams holding the female with his right arm around her neck/body and holding a knife in his left hand. SGT George was telling Mr. Williams to drop the knife while the female continued screaming and Mr. Williams was yelling to the officers to shoot him. When Mr. Williams made a downward motion with the knife toward the female, SGT George fired his weapon.
DA Higgins met privately with members of the family and with select community leaders today to announce his decision. DA Higgins expressed his condolences, stating, “While any loss of life is always tragic, the officer’s use of force in this instance was justified to protect a life.”
In an effort to provide transparency on certain community-interest cases, the District Attorney’s Office will provide access to a redacted version of the investigative case file for the public to access from the District Attorney’s Office website at www.brunswickda.org . The redacted investigative file will not contain any personal identifying information or graphic images.
Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.