Black Lives Matter group heads to Thomasville as protests continue

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 10:53 AM EDT
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By: Noelani Mathews

August 21, 2017

THOMASVILLE, GA. (WCTV ) -- It has been six days since a Thomas County deputy shot and killed Thomasville resident Herbert Gilbert in front of his home, and the protests continue.

On Monday, protesters prepared for new guests, as representatives from a Black Lives Matter group from Atlanta came to town.

The Black Lives Matter group is reaching out to Thomasville after receiving phone calls from the community, and are standing with Gilbert's family in solidarity, as well as helping advocate and counsel his family.

"We are really grateful they're coming down and they're hearing us and understanding what we're going through," said Lucretia Davis.

"It's a signal for us, really. For someone to come, that's so great. It's time to stand up," added Shmonia Burrows.

Black Lives Matter made plans to meet with city and county leaders on Monday.

By: Amy Robinson | WCTV Eyewitness News

August 16, 2017

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) – Wednesday morning, protesters gathered outside of the building that houses the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office and Thomasville Police Department in response to a fatal deputy-involved shooting on Tuesday afternoon.

Protesters say they are calling for justice in the death of 37-year-old Herbert Gilbert.

Gilbert died at the hospital after sustaining injuries during a deputy-involved shooting in the 400 block of Magnolia Street in Thomasville.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the case, has identified the deputy involved in the shooting as Thomas County Drug Agent Josh Smith. Smith has been with the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office since June 2012.

The GBI said of the shooting, "Agents were in the area of Magnolia and Fern Street attempting to execute a search warrant when the shooting occurred. The incident involved the subject's vehicle and Police vehicles prior to the shooting."

Gilbert's family tells us that his teenage sister had been dropped off by the school bus in the area just prior to the shooting and witnessed the ordeal.

Authorities have not released an account of exactly what led up to the shooting.

The GBI says, "This investigation is active and ongoing. Agents are actively conducting interviews and reviewing video footage. Once the investigation into the use of force is completed, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for their review."

On Wednesday, the Mayor for the City of Thomasville and the Chief of Police issued a statement in response to the shooting and subsequent protests, reading:

“On behalf of the Thomasville City Council and the entire City family, we want to begin by expressing our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased,” said Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs. “This was a tragic event for our community.” “We are sensitive to the community’s concerns and we understand that the community wants answers as to what happened. There is an active investigation currently underway by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,” Mayor Hobbs continued. “We ask that the community allow the investigation to run its course.” Police Chief Troy Rich added, “We also understand that the community wants to express its frustration. We ask that you do so peacefully and respectfully. The City and the Thomasville Police Department will provide a safe environment for those who wish to do so.”

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Thomasville GBI Regional Office at 229-225-4090.