Atlanta, GA — A North Carolina family narrowly escaped with their lives when an off-duty Atlanta police supervisor opened fire at their vehicle while directing traffic — because they made a wrong turn.
Forty-six-year-old Noel Hall, his wife, sons, grandson, and another passenger were leaving a motocross event at the Georgia Dome, where, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told 11Alive Sergeant Mathieu Cadeau “was conducting traffic and ordered Hall to go one direction down Northside Drive, but reportedly, Hall wanted to go another direction. The GBI, which has taken over the investigation, said Hall then drove toward the officer, at which point Cadeau opened fire, injuring Hall.”
Hall disputes GBI’s claims he drove at Cadeau, saying “at no point did we realize this man was a police officer.”
“First thing we want to make very clear is, that at no point did we realize this man was a police officer, he never presented hisself [sic] in any such way,” Hall wrote in a statement on the inexplicable shooting. “Yes, he had a vest on, however, from our point of view there was nothing on it to indicate or state who he was, he never identified himself, we did not see a badge and most certainly did not see his weapon. We were already in the turn lane and in the process of turning when he approached us by walking in front of our van, we did not drive toward him as been stated.”
Hall continued, “We came to a complete stop and at the point when we did start moving, we made a turn to the right, around and away from the officer. It is unclear to us as of why he chose to shoot, as we had already moved past him, when he fired at us, but it was absolutely unjustified.”
Further, even the Atlanta Police Department remains skeptical, reiterating Wednesday their office has never claimed Hall targeted Cadeau with the van.
Initial reports said Hall drove toward the supervisor, who “was wearing his uniform and reflective vest,” after being directed to a different route. Cadeau then opened fire without warning, hitting and injuring Hall — who then drove several blocks until a family member on board managed to reach emergency services.
Hall’s injuries weren’t serious, but the shaken up family has grave concerns about Cadeau’s indiscriminate and gratuitous firing of a deadly weapon into their Ford F350 van — particularly with the number of children inside. He stated,
“We are very fortunate and thankful that I (Noel) did not sustain any life threatening injuries from the gunshot wound, as we are also very fortunate and thankful that none of the other family members were hit. The officer shot at me through the drivers window, the bullet entering and exiting me twice, then through and out the passenger window, just missing my wife’s head, who was seated in the passenger seat by only inches. Also in the van were 2 of our sons, one sons girlfriend and our 2 year old grandson, so it could have very easily went through the passenger area of the van, hitting any of them.”
Considering Cadeau fired on the van while directing overflow traffic from a popular event, bystanders on foot and in other vehicles were also fortunate to be spared.
Notably, neither the Atlanta Police Department nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have accused Hall of accelerating toward the supervisor or targeting him maliciously with the vehicle — simply that he began driving toward Cadeau.
Indeed, Atlanta police haven’t indicated the supervisor cop felt threatened during the incident, at all.
Hall lamented the allegations he drove toward Cadeau, asserting never, at any point, “would I have done anything to put them in harms way, just as I would never had intentionally made a move to cause harm or possibly take another’s life.”
GBI is now handling the investigation into why an officer in a supervisory position on the job fired his service weapon into a family vehicle when the driver didn’t opt for the officially-sanctioned route — but didn’t put anyone in danger.
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