On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was requested by the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) to investigate an officer-involved shooting in Polk County.
Preliminary information from GSP indicates that while troopers were conducting a driving under the influence (DUI) patrol on Fish Creek Road at approximately 12:15 a.m., a vehicle attempted to elude law enforcement. GSP Troopers pursued the fleeing vehicle until it was stopped at the intersection of Collard Valley Road and Old Collard Valley Road. One passenger exited the vehicle when the chase ended. As Trooper Johnathan Mason made contact with the driver, identified as Jason Dennis Watkins, 36, Watkins accelerated the vehicle. During the encounter, Trooper Mason shot Watkins. Watkins was taken to Polk County Hospital where he died. An autopsy will be performed at the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur.
The GBI will continue its independent investigation to determine what occurred during the incident. Upon completion, it will be turned over to the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.