GBI: Police justified in shooting thief

ALBANY, Ga. -- Setting a hostage free, putting one robber in jail and another robber in the hospital just might sound heroic.

"I would not disagree with that characterization at all," said Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Mike Lewis, special agent in charge.

The shooting "is still under investigation, but from the facts we have found the police officers were justified in everything they did," Lewis said.

Randell Harris and Christopher Raines, both 20, are accused of robbing a Family Dollar store at 1030 W. Gordon Ave. Monday, stated an Albany Police Department report.

In trying to escape from the police, Raines was shot in the stomach and taken to a hospital, Phyllis Banks, police spokeswoman said. Harris was arrested and is in the Dougherty County Jail, she added.

Harris is charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and firearms violations, Banks said. Charges against Raines are pending his release from a hospital, Banks added.

When police officers arrived, the two men were in the store with employees and customers, Banks said. The badits took store employee Jamaica Jones, 25, hostage and tried to run, she added.

While trying to escape, Raines pointed a plastic gun that looked like a machine gun, Lewis said. Harris pointed a real sawed-off shotgun, he added.

The first two officers who arrived at the Family Dollar store, McKinley Windom and Christopher Hutcherson, drew their guns, Lewis said. Hutcherson shot Raines, Lewis said.

Despite the gunshot, Raines and Harris ran, dragging their hostage with them, Lewis said. As they fled, they left the hostage behind and dropped the guns and money from the heist. Police arrested the two after a 200-yard chase, Lewis said.

Jones was uninjured, but she was taken to the hospital for a checkup, police reports stated. Jones was not at work 4 p.m. Tuesday. No one at the store would talk about the robbery, citing corporate policy.