Marietta Police arrested an axe-wielding man on Saturday after shooting him with multiple rounds from a beanbag shotgun, a tool used as a nonlethal alternative to subdue suspects.

Zahki Koonce, 20, who jail records say is homeless, is said to have walked into the TruPrep Emergency Preparedness store at 1000 Cobb Parkway on Saturday, where he grabbed a long-handled axe and a smaller hatchet before walking about without paying, Marietta Police Officer Chuck McPhilamy told the MDJ on Sunday.

A post on the Marietta Police Department Facebook page said that when officers confronted Koonce, he ignored their commands to stop, “before changing his grip and holding both handles like he was going to use them to attack.”

As Koonce approached a nearby car dealership, officers grew concerned that he was getting closer to “multiple people that were looking at the cars for sale,” the post reads.

McPhilamy said officers called for backup, and when Koonce continued to refuse to drop the weapons, police fired the beanbag shotgun rounds until Koonce dropped the axe and hatchet.

“The suspect was then placed in handcuffs without further incident,” the police department’s Facebook post reads.

McPhilamy told the MDJ Koonce was shot with four beanbag rounds before he complied with police orders. All the shots hit Koonce in extremities, he said.

Police say Koonce was checked and treated at a local hospital for the beanbag strikes and remained in the Cobb jail as of Sunday morning.

“THANKFULLY this was able to be handled without anyone getting seriously injured!” the police department’s post reads. “We are fortunate our city and police department have invested in both the less-lethal tools as well as training to handle complex situations like this! KUDOS to all officers involved!”

In this case, McPhilamy said he was thankful to be able to report that “everything went according to plan.”

Marietta Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson joined McPhilamy in praising the officers involved for deescalating the situation without severe injury. She took to Facebook, sharing the police department’s post.

“This is what happens with a Police Department trained in less lethal apprehensions and de-escalation. No serious injuries, arrest made and public protected,” Richardson wrote. “Thank you, MPD. Job well done. Stay safe out there.”

According to jail records, Koonce is charged with four misdemeanors: theft by shoplifting, walking on a roadway where a sidewalk is provided, reckless conduct and obstruction of officers. Jail records show a bond of $55,000, while his arrest warrant indicates his bond has been denied, listing him as a “danger to person or community.”

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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(2) comments

David Glass

This story should get more attention. The perpetrator was likely suffering from a mental breakdown and could have wanted the police to kill him as 'police assisted suicide.' Of course, that hurts the department, the officers and the family of this man who clearly needs help. Great job Marietta Police.

gee whiz

Congrats to Marietta Police and also the TruPrep staff. All of MPD and TruPrep staff would have had a loaded firearm on them but everyone involved correctly realized this man did not requiring any killing as long as they could keep distance between him and anyone he could have harmed. Marietta had public safety tools on hand that kept the public safe, kept the police safe, and kept this young man safe too.

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