Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drug Suspect Slain by GBI Officers Were Protecting Appling County Witness

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drug Suspect Slain by GBI Officers Were Protecting Appling County Witness

Article excerpt

BAXLEY -- An Alma grocer facing drug charges was fatally shot

near a witness's home Saturday after pointing a loaded shotgun

at officers protecting the witness, authorities said.

Garwayne Johnson, 57, was killed by Georgia Bureau of

Investigation agents attempting to arrest him on a federal

warrant charging him with trying to hire someone to kill the

witness, a federal informant in Johnson's case.

"Garwayne Johnson had tried to hire somebody to kill the

informant but he couldn't find anybody to do it. So he decided

to do it himself," said Special Agent-in-Charge Guy Ellis of

GBI's Kingsland office. "The informant is a key witness in the

drug case against Johnson and his son."

Johnson was armed with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun when officers

with GBI and the Altamaha Drug Task Force found him in the woods

near the informant's Appling County home, police said.

"Johnson was confronted by the agents who identified themselves

and directed him to lay the weapon down. Johnson then pointed

the loaded shotgun at the agents," Appling County Sheriff Lewis

Parker said.

Johnson had the shotgun up to his shoulder ready to fire when

he was shot, said Dan Drake, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's

Office in Savannah.

The informant, whose name was withheld by authorities, was not

injured. No GBI agents or task force members were injured, Ellis

said.

An armed man who accompanied Johnson to the informant's home

was captured by GBI agents without any shots being fired, Ellis

said. Gregory Scott Bowen, 33, of Baxley, was arrested on a

state charge of felony murder stemming from Johnson's death,

Ellis said.

"Mr. Bowen was with Garwayne Johnson and dropped him off near

the intended victim's home," said Ellis, who declined to specify

the type of weapon Bowen had when arrested. Under Georgia law, a

person can be charged with felony murder if they participate in

a crime resulting in a death.

Johnson's son, Terry Wayne Johnson, 35, was arrested at his

Nicholls home shortly after his father was shot and charged with

helping his father plan to slay the informant, Ellis said. …

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