Possible suspect in Bluffton theft, assault killed by Savannah Police

Georgia News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting that occurred Tuesday night in Savannah.

Officials say the suspect fatally shot, Shawn Martin, was wanted for allegedly stealing his Bluffton neighbor’s credit cards. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) also believes Martin may have assaulted the 60-year-old woman and possibly stole her vehicle.

After speaking with the woman over the weekend, the sheriff’s office issued a Be on the Lookout alert for the car and 45-year-old suspect, Martin.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the GBI says Savannah police officers initiated a traffic stop on the reported stolen 2013 silver BMW.

Shawn Martin

A different person was driving the vehicle, who told officers Martin was at their mother’s home in Savannah.

Later that evening, police visited the driver’s mother’s home in the 1900 block of Vassar Street. After police say they received permission to search the home, officers found Martin in a closet.

The GBI says an officer opened the door and Martin came out swinging a knife. Officers gave verbal commands to drop the knife, but he did not comply, the agency says. 

Two officers fired their weapons, both hitting Martin. No officers were injured.

Emergency crews transported Martin to a local hospital where he died.

BCSO says their investigation into the Bluffton incident began Friday when a caller requested deputies and EMS to check on the 60-year-old woman at her Rose Hill residence.

At the home, the sheriff’s office says she indicated she wasn’t in need of medical attention. But the following afternoon, the same caller requested another check-in on the woman, saying she appeared disoriented and had advised that her head hurt.

Deputies and EMS went back to the home, and BCSO says “it was clear the woman had sustained head injuries.”

She was taken to Memorial Health in Savannah for treatment.

BCSO says the woman was admitted to the trauma unit for head injuries. At this time, she remains in the hospital recovering.

While deputies learned the woman’s vehicle and credit cards were missing, investigators say the cause of her head injuries is still unknown. They added that “it is suspected that her injuries are as a result of an assault.”

BCSO investigators did learn that one of her credit cards was used fraudulently at a Kroger store in Bluffton on Wednesday. They also discovered multiple purchases had been made in the Savannah area.

After reviewing video footage from the Bluffton Kroger and Savannah retail stores, investigators identified Martin as the fraudulent credit card suspect and secured two warrants for his arrest.

BCSO says investigators are still looking into the cause of the woman’s head injuries. Meanwhile, the Savannah Police Department requested the GBI to conduct an independent investigation into Martin’s shooting.

This is the 97th officer-involved shooting the agency has been requested to investigate in 2021.


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