Alton Oliver has been charged with the murder of Deputy James Thomas in Atlanta Georgia. According to police reports officers would respond to the scene of a crash where they would find Deputy James Thomas dead inside of the vehicle.. Soon after police would learn that Deputy James Thomas had been fatally shot. A search took place that eventually would lead to the suspect days later Police in Fulton County would arrest Alton Oliver who has been charged with felony murder.
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Investigators have made an arrest in the murder of a Fulton County deputy found shot to death in his car in northwest Atlanta.
At a press conference Tuesday, officials with the Atlanta Police Department and Mayor Andre Dickens said 26-year-old Alton Oliver was identified, arrested, and charged Monday for the shooting death of 24-year-old Deputy James Thomas.
According to authorities, officers were originally called to the scene on Bolton Road and Payton Road at around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 after reports of a shooting. They found a car that had been in a crash with the victim still inside.
Investigators later identified the victim as Thomas.
Atlanta police investigators spoke to the driver of a van who heard gunshots and called 911.
“The van observed the victim’s vehicle kind of driving erratically in the middle of the road on Bolton Road,” Atlanta police investigator Peter Malecki said. “When they went to pass that vehicle is when they believe they heard gunfire.”
At the time, investigators think that Thomas was killed after the crash. They do not believe Oliver and Thomas knew each other and that the shooting stemmed from a dispute that turned deadly.
Alton Oliver remains in custody in the Cobb County Jail charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and more.
Investigators say Alton Oliver did not have a criminal history outside a few traffic infractions.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat called Thomas “the life of the party” and a “good spirit,” who he personally hired from a law enforcement agency south of Atlanta.
“He was an outstanding young man. We personally recruited him from another agency down south specifically because of his energy and the love for what he brought to our agency,” Labat said.
Labat said the deputy worked on Wednesday night before he was found dead.
Thomas grew up in Mississippi, and locals say he knew what he wanted to be from a young age.
“Every time we would come through the neighborhood, he was just excited to see the officers he would flag us down,” said Chief Terence Crump, with the Edwards, Miss. police department. “He was really a blessing, because most kids his age, law enforcement wasn’t on the radar for them.”
Chief Crump said he took Thomas under his wing and helped him get his start in law enforcement.
The last time they spoke was less than 24 hours before he was last seen alive.
“I asked him [last] Tuesday if he had any plans of returning one day, and he said only if I could come back as a chief of police somewhere.”
Crump was confident that was in his future.
“I had no doubt in my mind that he was still with us, and maybe a couple years down the road I think he would’ve,” he told FOX 5’s Rob DiRienzo.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers had offered a $30,000 reward for anyone who has information that could lead to the arrest of Thomas’ killer
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Atlanta police have made an arrest in the deadly shooting of a Fulton County deputy.
James Thomas, 24, was found shot to death in his crashed car near Bolton Road early Thursday morning.
Jail records show that police arrested Alton Oliver, 26, on Monday on felony murder and aggravated assault charges. Channel 2 Action News attended a news conference Tuesday where police confirmed the arrest is connected to Thomas’ death.
Channel 2 Action News This Morning was first on the scene when authorities blocked the intersection of Bolton Road and Peyton Road.
Police told Channel 2 that someone crashed into the deputy’s car at some point during the incident and then drove away. Just after 4:30 a.m., officers responded to a shooting at the intersection.
Officers found Thomas’ body in the driver’s seat of his car.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said Thomas had been with the sheriff’s office for less than a year and was part of the Grady Detention Unit. Labat described the 24-year-old deputy from Mississippi as “the life of the party.”
“He was an outstanding young man. We personally recruited him from another police department down south specifically because of the energy and his love for what he brought to our agency,” Labat said.
Alton Oliver is scheduled to make his first appearance on Tuesday morning, according to Fulton County court records