When Teresa Hooks looked outside the craft room window of her Georgia home one night last week, she saw hooded figures wearing camouflage standing outside.
The East Dublin woman woke up her husband, David Hooks, who grabbed his shotgun, believing burglars who had recently targeted the couple had come back again, reported WMAZ-TV.
The sheriff’s deputies burst through the back door about 11 p.m. on Sept. 24 and, seeing David Hooks holding the weapon, fired 16 shots – killing the 59-year-old grandfather.
Authorities said Hooks met deputies at the door and pointed his weapon aggressively at officers as they announced themselves.
But Teresa Hooks said the officers did not knock and never identified themselves as law enforcement, and her attorney said David Hooks was killed behind a wall in the home -- not at the door.
Deputies were executing a search warrant as part of a drug investigation based on a tip from one of the burglars accused of stealing a vehicle from Hooks.
The night before the raid, the search warrant stated, Rodney Garrett told investigators he stole a plastic bag from a pickup parked outside the Hooks home, believing it contained cash.
He also stole firearms and a set of digital scales, investigators said.
Garrett then stole a Lincoln Aviator from the Hooks home and drove the SUV to Dublin, investigators said, where he discovered the bag contained methamphetamine – not money.
The man told police he “became scared for his safety” and turned himself in to authorities, the TV station reported.
Garrett has since been arrested on burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, and other charges.
An attorney for Teresa Hooks said the burglary suspect’s claims shouldn’t have been enough to justify a search warrant, and he noted that no drugs or other illegal items were found at the couple’s home.
He also questioned the wisdom of serving search warrants to late at night.
"That search of some 44 hours conducted by numerous agents of the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) resulted in not one item of contraband being found,” said attorney Mitchell Shook. “He was not a drug user or a drug dealer.”
A detective noted in the warrant application that he knew Hooks and his home address from a previous investigation, claiming a suspect told authorities that he supplied meth to Hooks for resale.
Shook said that case was investigated in 2009, but neither the attorney nor sheriff’s deputies have said whether Hooks was charged.
Hooks owned a construction company that worked on military bases, Shook said, which required background check clearance by state and federal authorities – including the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
“This is not a person who needs to be involved in criminal activity for financial gain," Shook said. "He did very well financially."
The slain man’s family has asked Sheriff Bill Harrell to suspend all the deputies who took part in the raid until the shooting death has been investigated.
Watch this video report posted online by WMAZ-TV: