COLUMBUS, GEORGIA — Police responded to a report of a shooting at about 7:30 PM on August 14, 2021 in the area of 13th Avenue and Virgina Street. Upon their arrival they found 20-year-old Iverson Gilyard suffering from seven gunshot wounds. He was transported to Columbus Piedmont Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Three days later, police executed an arrest warrant and found the juvenile suspect hiding in his closet. The suspect was charged with murder and made a statement that he was playing basketball with Gilyard and that Gilyard told the suspect to come to his house with him and that he didn’t want to go. A struggle ensued and the juvenile suspect shot Gilyard. Allegations are that the juvenile had a handgun in his backpack that he shot Gilyard with.
In May of 2022, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss their own charges after a review of video surveillance that captured the shooting. The video showed Gilyard walk up to the juvenile with a gun in his hand and strike the juvenile in the head with the butt of the gun. Witnesses stated that after striking the juvenile, Gilyard accused him of stealing some property and said, “come on, let’s go”. At that point, the video shows the juvenile retrieve his own firearm and shoot Gilyard.
In the motion to dismiss, the prosecution stated that Gilyard was committing several violent felonies at the time of his death, including aggravated assault and kidnapping, so the juvenile was entitled to use deadly force to defend himself, saying “Any person has the right to use self-defense, even deadly force, to prevent a serious violent felony happening to themselves.”
The judge granted the motion to dismiss on August 17, 2022, ending the prosecution.