DA to call coroner's inquest into cop shooting incident

ALBANY -- Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards confirmed on Albanyherald.com Wednesday that he will ask Dougherty County Coroner Emma Quimbley to call a coroner's inquest to discuss issues associated with the death of Sarah Riggins -- a woman shot to death by police.

Edwards had earlier said he intended to call witnesses of the shooting before the grand jury to recount their version of events; events that apparently contradict the preliminary findings of the GBI.

Instead, Edwards is urging Quimbley to call the inquest, which is essentially a public hearing to determine the manner of death, so that those involved can publicly state their claims.

"I'm not convinced that there was a need to put forth a criminal concern before the grand jury in a closed hearing," Edwards said. "So I've asked the coroner to hold this inquest to give those who were involved the opportunity to speak publicly."

Riggins was shot to death Oct. 22, by Albany Police Department officer Eric Strom after her roommate called police reporting a domestic argument.

Some witnesses said on local television broadcasts from the scene the night the officer gunned down Riggins as she stood with her hands in the air and was unarmed. This contradicts the preliminary findings of the GBI that show Riggins not only was holding a .357 Magnum handgun, but fired on Strom at least once.

Earlier this month, Edwards issued subpoenas to those witnesses to testify before the grand jury -- which is a closed and secret proceeding.