According to police, officers were dispatched to a report of a suspicious person in the area of Mableton Parkway and Puckett Drive at 11:25 p.m. Thursday. An officer arrived and confronted Murdock, who was pulling out of the parking lot of 642 Puckett Drive in a green Volkswagen Passat, police said. During the stop, a Cobb Sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, according to police.
The Cobb Police officer stepped away to verify what Murdock told him, according to the report. While the officer was away, Murdock and the deputy continued to talk, police said. The ensuing conversation led the deputy to believe Murdock had a weapon, prompting the deputy to physically engage him, police said. While that was taking place, a second Cobb police officer arrived, according to police. The second officer did not hear what was said between Murdock and the deputy, but saw the two in a physical altercation, police said.
“As the male continued to disobey the lawful commands of the officers, and when it appeared that he was reaching for a weapon, the second Cobb County police officer shot the male,” Sgt. Dana Pierce said.
Murdock was taken by ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center and died at 2:06 a.m., Pierce said.
Scott King, who runs the auto repair business in a nearby building from which Murdock was leaving, said Murdock had been helping him in the shop, as he often did. King said an officer approached him and asked him if he had anyone leaving the shop. When King told him that Murdock had just left, they walked toward the road, stopping to discuss installing a light to let police know that he was working in the shop, because the business had been burglarized before, King said.
King said that when he and the officer approached the road, he saw Murdock’s car stopped on the road with the second officer standing by the driver’s-side door. The officer was yelling at Murdock and then fired five to six shots at point-blank range, King said.
King said he heard Murdock yell, “Why are you shooting me?”
The officer who had shot Murdock then swung around, pointing the gun in King’s direction, prompting King and the officer with him to take cover, King said.
“I saw the officer duck behind a car and realized I was the last one in line,” King said.
King said he had seen a gun in Murdock’s car before, but doesn’t believe he would have threatened the officer with it.
King said he’d been friends with Murdock for four years and described him as “real smart, and an excellent body (repair) man. … He would do anything for anybody.”
King said he did not see a struggle between Murdock and the deputy.
Larry Shirah, who rents space to King and was a friend of Murdock’s, described Murdock as a “nice young man” without a criminal record. Shirah also said he can’t believe Murdock would have threatened an officer with his gun.
Pierce said he is not aware of any indications that Murdock was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
The officer who shot Murdock, whose name was not released, has been placed on administrative leave pending internal investigations.
Cobb Police investigators can be reached at (770) 499-3945.