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Cohutta Police Officer arrested Saturday in Whitfield County

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

According to a press release from the the Town of Cohutta On 8/24/2019 at 9:30 AM town of Cohutta Police Chief Greg Fowler and Mayor Ron Shinnick received information that Steven A. Thornton, 27, a police officer employed with the Cohutta Police Department, had been involved in a serious incident while off-duty in southern Whitfield County that resulted in the arrest of Mr. Thornton. According to a incident report from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a 911 call at 4:40 AM on Saturday. Thornton and another man identified in the report as Thornton’s former stepfather had fought and a gun was involved. According to the report a witness told deputies that after a night drinking at a local bar, Thornton and the 50-year-old man began arguing and fighting about a female Thornton had brought home with him. His former stepfather took the woman home and when he returned to the house at 152 Bellwood Drive, he and Thornton continued the argument. The man told Thornton to just sleep it off that's when Thornton became even more upset and said, “I’ll (expletive) kill you.” He told deputies Thornton then grabbed a pistol nearby and said, “I’ll shoot you.” The man then put Thornton in a headlock and the two men went to the floor. The witness told deputies he saw Thornton grab a gun and point it at the other man’s side. The witness said he grabbed the gun while it was in Thornton’s hands and pointed it at the floor. That's when Thornton pulled the trigger and the gun fired into the floor. Thornton told deputies he put the gun to the floor and fired it as a scare tactic with no intent to harm his ex-stepfather. Steven Thornton had been off-duty at the time of the incident over 24 hours from the Cohutta Police Department, and his next scheduled shift at the police department was set to begin on Sunday 8/25/2019 at 7:00 AM. Upon learning of the incident Chief Fowler and Mayor Shinnick went and met with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents in Dalton, Georgia who are in charge of the investigation. Chief Fowler and Mayor Shinnick after meeting with GBI agent Steve Rogers they were informed that the incident did not involve Steven A. Thornton in his official capacity as a police officer or any other official capacity for the Town of Cohutta. Regardless Chief Fowler immediately move to terminate the employment of Mr. Steven A. Thornton from the Cohutta Police Department Records have been submitted to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council reflecting that Stephen A. Thornton was terminated from his position as a police officer for the Town of Cohutta effective 8/24/2019 at 11:00 AM. Furthermore, Chief Fowler submitted full documentation to the Georgia POST council for them to open a police certification investigation on this matter (GBI investigation) regarding Mr. Steven A. Thornton. Mr. Thornton‘s employment with the Town of Cohutta was fully terminated at 11:00 AM on Saturday 8/24/2019, and he was served paperwork stating such at the Whitfield County Jail by Chief Fowler and Mayor Shinnick at 12:00 PM also on Saturday 8/24/2019. They have all Town of Cohutta property that was issued to Mr. Thornton in their immediate possession, and none of the towns official equipment was involved in this matter including police equipment and/or police firearm per the Georgia Bureau of investigation. This investigation is being handled fully by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region-1. Georgia Bureau of Investigation has charged Thornton with aggravated assault x2, possession of firearm during commission of a felony and discharge of a firearm while under the influence.