Ga. cops: Man wanted, got "Suicide by cop"

Related: Suicide By Cop: 15 Warning Signs That You Might Be Involved


Copyright 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Although he killed his newborn daughter's mother and grandmother, Edward Jenkins III apparently couldn't do the same to himself.

Police and a law enforcement expert said it looks like Jenkins chose "suicide by cop" when he went to the Clayton County police station Tuesday afternoon and fired on officers who followed him to the parking lot. The officers shot back, killing Jenkins.

"There is no way to determine what he was thinking," assistant Chief Jeff Turner said. "But if he wanted to turn himself in, he wouldn't have brought a loaded weapon into a police station and he would have stayed to talk to an officer."

Clinton Van Zandt, a 25-year FBI veteran and former hostage negotiator now living in Fredericksburg, Va., agreed. As an FBI hostage negotiator, Van Zandt said he was forced to kill a double homicide suspect.

That prompted him to research the phenomenon of suicide by cop.

"They do it because they want to die," Van Zandt said in a telephone interview. "They don't have the wherewithal to put a gun in their mouths and pull the trigger but they can kill a wife, mother-in-law. They know they've done wrong but don't know how to close the deal."

Police said Jenkins broke into the Ellenwood home of his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years, Anasa Weusi Williams, 33, on Tuesday afternoon and fatally shot her. Jenkins then found her mother, Fredia Butler, 55, of Oakland, Calif., in another part of the house and shot her while she held Jenkins' 8-day-old daughter and talked to a 911 operator. Williams' 11-year-old son ran to a neighbor, who called police.

The baby, who was uninjured, and her brother are in state custody, police said. A third child, a 16-year-old daughter, is in a juvenile boot camp in South Georgia, police said. Jenkins was not the father of the older children, police said.

A few hours later, Jenkins went to the police station, stopped at the front desk for a moment and walked back to the parking lot, followed by officers who recognized him. Nobody else was hurt in the shooting. The five officers are on administrative leave while the GBI investigates.

Jenkins, 33, had a history of violence. He served more than 8 1/2 years in South Carolina prisons after pleading guilty in April 1994 to assault and battery with intent to kill.

It was unknown Wednesday who the victim was in that case.

Clayton County police records show officers went to the Ellenwood home for domestic disturbances at least five times since June 2005. Jenkins was charged with battery in July but the case was dropped when Williams, recanted.

The family, including Jenkins at times, lived a two-story, split level home in a quiet cul-de-sac of a subdivision near the Clayton and DeKalb county line.

"Police used to just post up in the cul-de-sac," said Jacquin Burley, 34, who lives a few doors down. "I know they had just moved in, but the funny thing is I never saw anybody in the back of the police car handcuffed."

Burley described Jenkins as unfriendly with an attitude problem. The day of the murders, Burley said he saw Jenkins' gold car.

He thought it strange that Jenkins didn't pull into the driveway as he normally would, but instead sped off.

"It's been haunting all night," Burley said.

Butler had just moved into the house March 25 after coming from Oakland, Calif., to help care for the newborn baby, said Butler's sister, Stephanie Evans-Nash of Oroville, Calif. She said the family knew Williams and Jenkins had problems.

"I talked to my niece every day. Sometimes I'd call and they'd be arguing," Evans said. "I never thought it was that bad."  
April 6, 2006

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