Home News DA issues felony murder warrant for officer in fatal Atlanta shooting

DA issues felony murder warrant for officer in fatal Atlanta shooting


The Fulton County DA has issued a felony murder warrant for ex-officer James Burns.


  • An Atlanta police officer is no longer on the force and he could face criminal charges for shooting and killing an unarmed man.

    Officer James Burns shot and killed 22-year-old Deravis Rogers in June at Monroe Place Apartments.

Officer James Burns was officially terminated from Atlanta Police Department effective Thursday, although it was announced earlier.

According to internal documents obtained by CBS46, the reason for the emergency action is “maltreatment or unnecessary force.”

“We could not support, after looking at the evidence and hearing the officers statements, it was not a shooting the department could stand by,” said spokesperson Warren Pickard.

Officer’s account conflicted with video
On June 22, Officer Burns responded to a foot pursuit call at Monroe Apartments. As he pulled into the area, he saw a car pulling out from the wrong side of the street. Burns said he tried to block the cars exit, jumped out yelling stop before firing the deadly shot through the passenger window, killing Deravis Rogers.

In the Internal Affairs questioning, Burns told investigators, “… He clearly made a decision to run me over, you know, and and kill me. And I’m thinking about, you know, I gotta protect myself…”

Burns said in another answer, “… I remember thinking, ‘Wow…he’s actually trying to kill me.”

Investigators say dash cam video tells a different story.

In the written report, investigators said to Burns, “Directly following the shot, you can be seen on the dash cam video of another responding officer’s patrol vehicle walking from behind your patrol vehicle toward the location where the vehicle you shot into had just passed.”

The Internal Affairs investigation also told Burns, “You attempted to conduct an investigatory stop of the driver of this vehicle without having reasonable suspicion that the driver had engaged in, or was about to engage in criminal activity.”

Father questioned wound to son
“The force the officer used was not reasonable nor was it necessary and that in essence steps outside our policies governing behaving in which an officer would deploy a weapon or discharge a weapon,” Pickard said.

These findings fall in line with questions the victim’s father had about what happened to his son.

“It didn’t feel right and once I saw my son’s body and the actual gunshot wound. I thought something is really really wrong here,” Deravis Thomas said.

Lawyer: Burns “entitled to presumption of innocence”
Meanwhile, Burns has retained an attorney, CBS46 has learned. Lance Lorusso, who is representing the fired officer, shared a statement with us late Friday afternoon. Lorusso said the loss of life is tragic, and supports a thorough investigation.

“During this time, just like just like any other person who is the focus of a criminal investigation, Officer Burns is entitled to a presumption of innocence,” the statement said. “As has become the norm for law enforcement officers involved in deadly force incidents, Officer Burns has consulted with an attorney of his choosing. This is his constitutional right.”

Lorusso said his firm is conducting an investigation into the facts and that Burns is appealing his termination from the Atlanta Police Department.

We’ll stay with this story and update you as information becomes available.


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