Acting on behalf of Gooch’s two children, Thomas L. Gooch and Susan J. Gooch name Sheriff Clark Millsap, the city of Cartersville, five Bartow County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a Cartersville police officer in the complaint, alleging officers made unlawful entry into Gooch’s residence the night she was shot and killed by two of the deputies.
On Dec. 16, 2010, officers were executing a warrant for an armed robbery suspect at 3 Lee St. in Cartersville, according to reports at the time of the shooting.
Upon the deputies' arrival, the suspect went out the back and Gooch allegedly began attacking a deputy with a hammer, injuring one officer's hand, Millsap said in 2010. After Gooch allegedly refused to cease the attack, the deputy drew his service weapon and discharged the firearm. A second officer behind him also fired.
In the complaint, it is alleged that Gooch, 34, and a visitor were at the residence when police arrived looking for the suspect. When asked if they could enter the house, Gooch asked if they had a warrant and was told no.
At some point, Gooch telephoned her parents and said police were there and she was going to refuse them entry based on their not having a warrant, according to the complaint.
“Holli told the officers that they could not come in without a warrant, and she closed and dead-bolted the door,” the complaint states.
The defendants then kicked in the door and entered the home with guns drawn, causing Gooch to panic and flee to the kitchen, “where she was shot several times and killed … after she allegedly picked up a hammer and wielded it as a weapon,” the complaint reads.
The complaint states that the officers knew or should have known that they had no legal right to enter the home, that it was possible the residents would potentially resist an unlawful entry and that the illegal entry could foreseeably cause someone to be shot, “especially someone with a history of mental illness like Holli Gooch.”
Under the complaint two Fourth Amendment claims are made – one against the individual officers and one against Millsap. Those claims center on the officers entering the residence without a warrant. Under counts three and four, the complaint alleges state claims against the individual officers for a “breach of duty imposed by law that constitutes negligence.” The final count extends to a state law claim the city of Cartersville concerning its liability.
The plaintiffs ask in the complaint for a jury trial and for the jury to determine the amount of damages. It also asks that the defendants pay all legal fees. Finally, the plaintiffs ask the court to award any additional or alternative relief it deems appropriate.