Little revealed in investigation of deputy-involved shooting

By Daniel Silliman


Two days after the fatal, officer-involved shooting of a 19-year-old man, the only signs of the incident were a few boarded-up windows.

At the Hidden Garden apartments, 6726 Tara Blvd., the window of a second floor residence was busted out, the fire-blackened hole was covered with thick, maple plywood. A pile of siding and insulation lay on the ground.

At the BP gas station, 7297 Tara Blvd., the window beside the door was covered in the same plywood, and the broken glass had been swept away.

Next door, at the abandoned and boarded-up Shell Station where David Nave, Jr. was shot and killed during an altercation with Clayton County sheriff's deputies, nothing but torn-up gas pumps remained to mark the spot where the young man died.

According to authorities, Nave, who, they say, may have been suffering mental problems, set his mother's apartment on fire, destroyed the window and merchandise at the BP station, slashed the tires on two cars, and lunged at deputies with a knife, before being shot to death.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's probe of the shooting is underway, but autopsy results revealed little information, and the agency has no deadline for the investigation.

John Bankhead, GBI spokesman, said the autopsy showed Nave's death was caused by gunshot wounds -- which was obvious -- but would not say where the man was shot. Some witnesses and family members claim the 19-year-old was shot in the back while running away from the deputies.

Gerald Rose, leader of the community-action group, New Order, said that's the question everyone wants answered: Was this young black man shot in the back?

Bankhead cautioned the location of a gunshot wound does not yield as much information as the public generally believes. Sometimes, the impact of the first bullet turns the body around, and subsequent bullets strike the back.

Investigators did find a knife at the scene of the shooting, apparently confirming deputies' descriptions of the event.

Other autopsy tests may take months because of case backlogs at the GBI. The investigation will not be completed without the final autopsy report, and Bankhead said it would then be passed on to the district attorney's office for examination.

"There's really no calendar on these things," Bankhead said.

The last officer-involved shooting in the county, when two Clayton County Police officers shot and killed 23-year-old Robert Harvest Turman, after the man tried to drive away from a prostitution sting, was under investigation for more than three months. The GBI ruled the incident a justified homicide. Turman, police said, was in possession of illegal drugs and was attempting to run an officer over with his vehicle when he was killed.

The fire department's investigation into the cause of the fire is also ongoing, Capt. Laudry Merkison of the Clayton County Fire Department said. Nave's mothers' account of the event, and the fact that the fire started in the 19-year-old's bedroom indicates that Nave set it. Investigators do not yet know, though, if the fire was set intentionally, or if it was an accident.

Speaking by phone from southern California, Nave's father, David Nave ,Sr., said the family was "doing as well as could be expected," and making burial preparations.

The teen's body will be shipped to Wichita, Kan., to be buried where he was born and has extended family, according to the senior Nave.