This is the officers’ story.
Kennesaw Police officer Josh Hale arrives on the scene at 3940 Cherokee St., in Kennesaw, for a “fight in the parking lot.” Dispatch has advised him that one of the subjects in the fight was armed with a gun.
Upon arriving, Hale observes a male with a dark object in his hand–it’s Solon, holding his cell phone to his ear. However, dispatch informed him that he was the one with the gun.
He sees the black, semi-automatic weapon the ground, sans its magazine, while Solon is yelling out about disarming a man, and shouting about hollow point bullets.
As Hale approaches the scene, another officer secures Solon, while he observes three people around a man on the ground.
There is a large amount of blood pooling from his head.
The man is Cooper, and he is talking.
There are two other men standing near Cooper, who tell police they had no involvement. They are released from the scene.
O’Brien detains Solon with handcuffs–who continually disobeys orders to keep his hands out of his pockets and remain still until officers deem the scene as safe.
The conversation is recorded on his body camera.
“Don’t go reaching in your pocket, man!” O’Brien demands of Solon.
“I’m not. I’m pulling my pants.” Solon argues.
Another officer on the scene warns, “That’s a good way to get thrown on the ground. Don’t be stupid.”
“I understand completely what’s going on, sir. I understand completely. You’re not exactly being cooperative either,” Solon says.
O’Brien frisks Solon for any weapons. After finding no weapons, he places him in the police cruiser.
“Until we figure this out, you’re being detained,” the officer relays to Solon.
“Yes, sir,” Solon complies.
“Did I do something wrong?” he begins questioning the officer.
“Have a seat. I don’t know what’s going on. We’re trying to detain you to figure out what’s going on. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, but did I do something wrong? Did I do something wrong, or no?” Solon inquires.
O’Brien shuts the cruiser door.
Kennesaw Police Sgt. Horton arrives on the scene to assist in a “person armed” call.
O’Brien informs him that there is an unsecured pistol on the pavement nearby Hale’s cruiser.
Horton picks up the gun and identifies it as a Glock model 23, .40-caliber pistol. He notices that the magazine is separate from the handgun.
He calls it into dispatch and places it in his cruiser, on the floorboard.
He locks the door and returns to the scene take photographs.
Hale interviews witnesses on the scene, including Michael Loudermilk.
He tells the officer that Cooper approached them and requested a cigarette, but when they told him that they don’t smoke, he started to become derogatory towards the females. When Loudermilk and Solon told him to leave, he says, Cooper lifted his shirt and revealed a gun.
He removed the gun from his waistband and started waving in the air then pointed it directly at them. Loudermilk says that is when Solon lunged at Cooper and disarmed him.
Hale speaks to Cooper, who is intoxicated and slurring his speech.
The officer notices several cuts on Cooper’s head and that he is bleeding profusely. Cooper is unable to recall what happened in the parking lot. However, he tells Hale that he has a Georgia Weapons Carry License, but does not have it with him.
Cooper is taken to Kennestone Hospital.
The officers on the scene spend about an hour trying to figure out what happened in that parking lot between a gunman, a “hero” and a congressman’s son—while the combat veteran who disarmed the gunman sits alone in the back a patrol car.
“He’s just back there because he’s being uncooperative,” one of the officer says to another, regarding Solon.
“That’s why he’s back there. I don’t know who he is, what his deal is.”
“Oh, he says, ‘I saved everybody’s lives. I don’t know why I’m back here. Y’all aren’t doing your damn jobs.’ I’m like, ‘Well, OK.’”
From inside the police cruiser, Solon spouts off at police.
“You know, you guys wouldn’t even be out here if I didn’t call you.”
“Better off handling this myself.”
“I mean I only saved their lives and stuff, no big deal.”
“Get a f***king gun pulled on me. You know, just saved three people’s lives. Disarmed the guy. Keep him there because they wanted to f***king run, and then I get thrown in the back of a f***king cop car.”
Hale allows Solon to exit the police cruiser and removes the handcuffs from his wrists, and asks him what happened.
However, he begins to have an “attitude” towards officers on the scene.
“I had it under control, I feel like,” Solon tells officers.
“You had what under control?”
“The whole situation,” he says. “I had him on the ground. Had him taken care of, I called the ambulance. I had it disarmed. I mean, what else did you guys do, except put me in the back of the car in handcuffs.”
The officer rebuts.
“We come to a scene. There’s a gun on scene. All I’m told is you’re the last one to have the gun.”
“I know that we have a person injured. I know we have a gun on the ground, and I know you’re the last one to talk it [sic], and you start having an attitude with me,” the officer says to Solon. “You start touching your pockets, and everything. I asked you not to, and you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m the hero’ or whatever you were saying.”
“OK, Sorry, sir,” Solon concedes.
“That’s why you got in the back of the car.”
“I see your perspective,” Solon says.
“We weren’t here, so we don’t know who had the gun,” Hale explains to him.
Solon tells his story—stating that he struck Cooper in the head so that he would stay down.
Hale talks to Mazzy’s manager who shows him the parking lot’s surveillance video, they see what looks like the accused gunman, Cooper and his girlfriend stumbling over to Solon’s group.
However, Hale was unable to see the gun in Cooper’s hand, nor where it was pointed, in the blurry, black and white video.
After he watches the altercation on the video, Hale observes Solon walk away from Cooper to pick up what’s believed to be the gun. He returns to Cooper and strikes him.
Cooper attempts to stand and walk away, but eventually falls to the ground.
After reviewing the video, Hale approaches Solon again, and again, places handcuffs on him and puts him in the backseat of O’Brien’s cruiser.
“Did I do something wrong? The wrong thing? Solon questions Hale.
“What should I have done, then?”
“Call the police,” Hale advises.
“I did, sir.”
Solon is arrested and taken to the Acworth Jail where he is booked on a battery charge for hitting the gunman and a felony gun possession charge, for taking the gunman’s weapon from him.
Cooper is arrested a few days later, once he is released from the hospital for the injuries he sustained during the altercation in the parking lot.
Dwight Cooper's booking photo from July 2017 (Cobb County Jail)