Police Kill Pastor in Drug Operation

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Atlanta, G.A.—Undercover police officers shot and killed a Georgia pastor following a drug sting Tuesday afternoon. Jonathan Ayers, 29, was seen in his car with a woman who was the target of a drug operation in Stephens County. Ayers dropped the woman off in downtown Toccoa before stopping at a convenience store. Plainclothes officers tried to question Ayers about an alleged drug transaction before he left, and that’s when the shooting took place.

As Ayers got into his car to leave the convenience store, police in a black SUV pulled alongside his car and got out to question him. According to Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, the officers were wearing badges around their necks, and they also shouted “Police. Stop.” Instead of stopping, Ayers continued backing his car out, striking an officer. It was then that police opened fire on the car, striking Ayers in the upper torso. Ayers managed to drive a few blocks from the gas station where the incident occurred before losing control of the car and hitting a telephone pole. Ayers died in surgery an hour later. The officer hit by Ayers car was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released. A gas station surveillance camera captured the whole incident.

Georgia Bureau of Investigations spokesman John Bankhead revealed that no drugs or illegal paraphernalia had been found in Ayers’ car, “even though what occurred would make any undercover officer working drugs think that was a possibility. I can’t get into that, but that’s what we’re looking at.”

It was determined that police had not seen a drug transaction during the sting, but “other circumstances were involved, and that’s part of the investigation,” Bankhead said.

Ayers’s family was shocked to hear of the incident. “He is one of the Godliest men I’ve ever known,” brother-in-law Matt Carpenter told a local news outlet. “We’re all shocked and absolutely do not believe he was involved in anything illicit or illegal there.”

Ayers, a pastor at the Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia, kept a blog, on which he stated his three loves in life: “Jesus Christ, my wife Abby, and the Church.” Ayers and his wife were expecting their first child.

The woman, who has not been identified, was later picked up on charges of cocaine possession and distribution. Both officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave while the GBI conducts an investigation.

 

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