Officer Sherry Hall is facing four felony charges after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) found that she had fabricated a harrowing story of being shot while on duty. She has been placed on paid administrative leave and checked herself into a “private facility” to seek help, GBI Special Agent Joe Wooten told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This began on September 13, when Hall was on patrol and claimed she came across a man in a wooded area.
“He had a presentation of somebody who might need medical attention,” Hall told WGCL shortly after the incident allegedly occurred. “Or might have been under the influence of a substance.”
She claimed that she talked to him from a distance “and during that time we had a little bit of a confrontation, he fired a shot and then I began to return fire and take fire.”
She said she shot at the suspect at least twice.
Hall painted a picture of the man, described as a black and wearing a light green shirt, incoherent and rambling while refusing to cooperate.
“I don’t think he even knew what he was saying,” she said.
“Why did he shoot me?” she asked. “I was just trying to help him.”
In a 10-minute interview, she described fearing for her life after being shot and realizing how easy it would have been to die. The bullet hit her in the stomach area of her bulletproof vest, and doctors believed it saved her life.
Following her report, GBI began going door-to-door around Jackson, Georgia to gather information of the drugged out man lurking in the woods that tried to kill a police officer.
However, just 10 days later, Special Agent Joe Wooten would announce, “There is no and never was a suspect shooter at large in Jackson.”
While Hall was on administrative leave, customary to all officers involved in shootings, her story began to fall apart as investigators spent 600 hours examining the details. Hall had little evidence in her corner after she claimed that she failed to “engage her in-car video and audio.”
Between that and digital forensic evidence that showed unspecified “inconsistencies,” Hall stopped cooperating with the GBI.
The exact digital inconsistencies are unknown, but video and audio recording evidence found only two shots were fired, despite Hall’s version that had three shots fired. In addition, she had an extra handgun with her and never mentioned it to investigators. In fact, the gun was not found until a search warrant was executed at her house.
Warrants from the GBI allege that Hall used her second firearm to plant a shell casing at the scene to claim that it had been fired by the gunman.
The reason why she created the story remains a mystery and might never be known, but now Jackson’s politicians and law enforcement have to try to regain their community’s trust during a difficult time.
“For two weeks this incident has cast an image of the city of Jackson that does not reflect who we are,” Jackson Mayor Kay Pippin told the Journal-Constitutional.
Hall had only been with the Jackson Police Department for three months before the incident.
Investigators have yet to clarify whether she shot herself, but WGCL found that the Jackson Police Department has a policy where accidental shootings could lead to termination.
Now, instead of losing her job, Hall is facing several years behind bars. Police Chief James Morgan guaranteed the public that Hall would be arrested as per her warrant, saying, “I have been entrusted as the Chief of Police here in Jackson to enforce the law to the fullest and that means even if I have to enforce it on my own personnel.”