COLUMBUS, Georgia (WRBL) — The Russell County District Attorney today released deputy body camera footage from a May officer-involved shooting that left 47-year-old Daniel Mooneyham dead.
A grand jury has cleared two Russell County sheriff’s deputies of any wrongdoing in the shooting.
Sheriff Heath Taylor and District Attorney Rick Chancey Daniel Mooneyham was a deeply troubled man who an autopsy showed was under the influence of meth and cocaine and struggling with mental illness when two officers had to make a separate decision to use deadly force after a Taser The chemical spray failed to subdue the armed Mooneyham in his pickup truck.
On May 31, Mooneyham fired a shot at a Russell County Water Authority employee who was turning off his water for failing to pay a $43 bill.
Armed with two guns and ammunition, Mooneyham went to the water board office. When officers arrived at the water department, Mooneyham was there and had attempted to go inside but backed away.
Taylor says by the grace of God a mass shooting was averted.
“God was with us that day,” Taylor said. “He was with these people at the water department and he did not allow this person to go in and commit what we believe was a potential mass shooting.”
Mooneyham left the water authority. After discussions with employees, deputies decided to follow him. Mooneyham was stopped at US 431 and Ware Road, not far from his home.
What seemed like a traffic stop quickly changed.
Mooneyham had a sticker on the door of his truck. It read “IDK; IDC; IDGAF.”
“We know that is the case. I don’t know it. I do not care. I’m not saying an explicit word,” Taylor said. “…We think that’s important, that that’s his attitude. And that’s behavior.”
It happened that quickly.
“At what point were these officers authorized to use deadly force? Now? Probably not because he didn’t do anything to them,” Chancey said. “They’re a little suspicious of him. Because they only knew a few minutes ago that this was a man who was accused of having a gun and shooting someone. But that doesn’t mean they can just stop and shoot him. They still need to conduct their investigation.”
The video shows officers using a Tasar and chemical spray when Mooneyham came back at them armed.
“Chemical spray, then the Taser,” Taylor said. “…There’s the spray, then the Taser and he comes out with the gun.”
Taylor says it’s happening so fast.
“This is a prime example of how things go from normal, non-lethal violence to lethal violence in a split second,” Taylor said.
Mooneyham had pulled the trigger as he struggled with the officers, but the gun did not fire.
Chancey said the grand jury reviewed that video and concluded the deputies were justified in using deadly force.
“The grand jury reviewed all of the evidence in this case, including body cam footage, dash cam footage and witness statements, and concluded that the deputies acted within the law. And as far as our office, the Russell County District Attorney’s Office, this case is closed.”
A problem in this case? Mooneyham was legally carrying the two firearms. He had previously been denied a carry permit by Taylor’s office. But a change in Alabama law allows citizens to carry open luggage. As Taylor said, it was perfectly legal until he started shooting people.