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Man shot by officers is identified
Walton County resident, 43, killed Thursday after chase in woods, water
Shooting Scene
Walton County sheriff's deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers stand guard Friday morning, July 27, 2018, outside a home where a man was intruding on the property a day earlier, leading to a confrontation that resulted in the man's death. - photo by David Clemons

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — The man who was shot when closed in on by police has been identified.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 43-year-old William Earnest Brooks died after he allegedly stole a sheriff’s deputy’s service weapon, fled and later raised the gun as if to shoot.

Walton County sheriff’s deputies responded to a home in the 700 block of Social Circle-Fairplay Road at about 2:25 p.m. Thursday after getting a 911 call of a man riding an ATV outside the home. The homeowners had said there was supposed to be someone there doing yardwork, but not riding an ATV.

Deputies arrived and made contact with Brooks, who fled. A foot chase ensued, leading to a physical altercation in a field about 300 yards behind the house.

Brooks allegedly overpowered a deputy, who pulled his service weapon and fired a shot. It was not immediately clear if the shot hit Brooks or not.

Brooks then took the gun and went deeper into the woods.

By this time, more deputies plus Social Circle police officers, rangers from the Social Circle-based state Department of Natural Resources and Georgia State Troopers arrived on the scene.

GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said a GSP helicopter spotted Brooks in the nearby Hard Labor Creek Reservoir, and he allegedly brandished a weapon at the shoreline. That’s when six sheriff’s deputies and a Social Circle police officer fired at Brooks.

He was shot and died at the scene.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation and turn its findings over to District Attorney Layla Zon for review.

“I hate that this incident happened,” Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said. “But that’s why we rely on these people at the GBI.”

Miles said Brooks was a longtime resident of Walton County.

Walton Tribune News Editor Stephen Milligan contributed to this report.