GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gunned down in cold blood while investigating a suspicious vehicle Saturday afternoon, the Gwinnett County Police Department is mourning one of their own.
Officer Antwan Toney was rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville after being shot responding to 911 call about a suspicious vehicle behind Shiloh Middle School just after 2:30 p.m. Gwinnett County Police said Toney and a second officer were attempting to make contact with the occupants of the vehicle when they were fired upon. That second officer, whose name has not yet been released, pulled Officer Toney out of the line of fire.
Police said Officer Toney died at the hospital as a result of his injuries. Investigators said the bullet missed the vest worn by the 30-year-old officer.
The officer was six days shy of his third anniversary with the Gwinnett County Police Department. He had been with the department since October 26, 2015, and graduated from the Gwinnett Police Department’s 94th Academy on April 21, 2016, along with 25 other cadets.
This was Officer Toney’s first job as a sworn law enforcement officer, Chief Butch Ayers said. Prior to joining the department, he worked as a security guard.
Officer Toney is originally from Southern California, where his family still lives.
No services or memorials were announced late Saturday evening.
Flags in front of the Gwinnett County Police headquarters were lowered Saturday night to half-staff and a small memorial was held at the fallen officer's memorial. As the police Chief Butch Ayers continued to brief from a podium outside the headquarters, a photo Officer Toney sat on a small table to the side in tribute.
Chief Ayers said Toney was considered "...a very jovial person, very dedicated to his job, dedicated to his serving his community."
Gwinnett County Police said they have received an outpouring of support from every metro Atlanta agency, which they said they appreciate. Tributes, words of comfort, and memorials were posted to the social media accounts of many of the law enforcement agencies in Georgia by late Saturday.
This is the fifth death the Gwinnett County Police Department has experienced in the line of duty. Police said in April 1964, Officers Jerry Everett, Ralph Davis, and Jesse Gravitt were shot and killed investigating suspicious activity in Duluth. In May 1993, Officer Chris Magill was killed in a traffic accident along Interstate 85.
The department was unofficially established in the 1930s when the commission hired a man to police the area. Since then, it has become organized, accredited, and grew into the third largest stand-alone police agency in Georgia. The department currently employs 813 sworn officers and 280 civilians.