Arrest made in murder of Fulton County deputy found shot to death in crashed car

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 12:37 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2023 at 1:19 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta police have arrested a man accused of killing a Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy last week.

24-year-old Deputy James Thomas was found shot to death in a crashed car near Bolton Road just before 5 a.m. Thursday.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, police told Atlanta News First that 26-year-old Alton Oliver was arrested for killing Thomas.

Police said Oliver is being charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

According to police, Oliver was on foot and there was some type of argument that escalated to gunfire.

Police said it is not believed that Deputy Thomas and Oliver knew each other or had any other connection before the altercation.

Deputy James was on duty the night before the shooting but police did not know anything about his actions between the time he got off duty and the time he was shot.

Police and Mayor Andre Dickens credited the community, and technology for the break in the case.

“Our camera network called “Connect Atlanta” was very instrumental in helping bring this individual to justice,” Dickens explained.

Thomas, who joined the agency in August of this year, was assigned to Grady Detention. He was recruited to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office from the Milledgeville Police Department, because of his dedication to the law enforcement profession.

Thomas’ friend Keith Bankston said, “We’re really shocked because he was a deputy who worked with the inmates at the hospital, and we don’t know if it could have been related to that or a simple car accident with road rage so we’re just hoping and praying for answers for his family...He was a friendly, bubbly person who always told jokes was always sassy and always had a smart comeback with the jokes and so a lot of young people looked up to him because he always wanted to be in law enforcement his whole life.”

A ceremony will be held on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Fulton County Government Center in Assembly Hall.