January 3, 2023

Arrest made in fatal shooting of former JPD officer working as Georgia deputy

Therese Apel

A Thursday press conference for Atlanta PD to announce an arrest in the shooting death of former Mississippi police officer James Thomas

James Thomas

Atlanta Police Department officials said the man arrested in the shooting death of Fulton County Deputy James Thomas, a Jackson native, does not appear to have had any previous connection to him.

Thomas was a former Jackson Police Department officer who had relocated to Georgia. He was working at a smaller agency when he was recruited by Sheriff Pat Labat to be a part of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

In a press conference Tuesday, officials said Alton Oliver, 26, was taken into custody Monday afternoon and charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said it appears Oliver was on foot when he shot Thomas, whose car then crashed into a tree. Evidence was gathered from a 911 caller as well as some video from some truck drivers and the city’s ConnectAtlanta camera system that led detectives to Oliver as their suspect.

All Hampton could say about the details of the case were that there was some type of argument that escalated to the gunfire.

“Right now it apppears there was no previous relationship or knowledge of one another,” he said.

Labat said Thomas will be laid to rest in Mississippi.

“We’re grieving with the family, but also wrapping our arms around them to love and support them,” he said. “This family needs time to heal, and we ask that you give them the grace and space to do so.”

A Gofundme has been started to assist with funeral costs.

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