Fort Benning fire inspector Tony Carr had nothing to do with the bank robbery that led to his death on Sept. 6, 2011, Muscogee District Attorney Julia Slater announced today.
She has not decided whether the police officer who shot car along with the suspected bank robber will face charges, or whether the incident will be reviewed by a grand jury, she said. Officer Vincent Lockhart Jr. has been on paid leave since the shooting.
“After careful review, I find nothing in either the investigatory report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation nor the follow up investigation conducted by the Office of the District Attorney to indicate that Tony Carr was involved in the robbery of the MEA Credit Union," Slater wrote in a press release. "Although this office has never implicated Mr. Carr of any wrong doing, I believe it is important for me to release this finding. Because of the developments in the follow-up investigation, I am not yet in a position to release the next step for this case.”
Lockhart shot Carr and suspected bank robber Alrahiem Tolbert after chasing Tolbert about a block from the Macon Road credit union to the driveway of 2907 Gardenia St., where Tolbert got into the government truck Carr had left in the driveway, police said. It was shortly after 11:30 a.m., and relatives said Carr often stopped by his rented home at lunch to let his dog out.
With Tolbert in the driver's side, Carr came running from the house and got into the pickup's passenger side, after which Tolbert tried to back over the officer, police said. Lockhart dodged out of the way and began firing at the truck as Tolbert shifted gears and sped west on Gardenia Street, fishtailing up a hill toward Briarwood Avenue, investigators said.
Fatally wounded by a bullet to his chest, Carr fell from the truck to the asphalt, where the vehicle ran over his legs.
The truck crashed into a utility poll at Briarwood Avenue, where police found Tolbert dead from a head wound. A gun and loot from the bank were in the cab with him, officers said. Carr later died at The Medical Center. Police initially suspected he somehow was associated with Tolbert, but later found no connection between the two.
Carr’s brother, Michael Carr, 32, maintained Tony Carr was carjacked. The family long has asked that his name be cleared.
Slater said she informed Carr's family of her decision before announcing it: "I have told them that I have not found any connection."
Tony Carr served in the Air Force, where he became a firefighter until his service ended in 1999, after which he worked as a civilian firefighter for the military, the brother said. Though certified as a fire inspector, his brother’s primary duty was as a firefighter, he said. Tony Carr’s fire inspection work was temporary, he said.
Michael Carr said his brother routinely took a government truck home at lunch, though Fort Benning officials said that violated regulations. Michael Carr said he and his brother were on the phone together from 11:40 to 11:49 a.m. Tuesday, and the conversation ended soon after Michael Carr heard a stranger’s voice say “Move,” after which his brother told him, “Hold on.” He never heard from Tony Carr again after that, he said.