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Troubled former Sardis cop fatally shot by officer

Police: Winard Dwayne Burke had broken into Sardis station with ax

Troubled former Sardis cop fatally shot by officer

Troubled former Sardis cop fatally shot by officer

Winard Dwayne Burke

A former Sardis police officer and Screven County jailer, known by his co-workers as "Robocop," was killed Monday when a Sardis police officer on patrol caught him breaking into the police department.

Interim Sardis Police Chief Scotty Sanford confirmed reports that Winard Dwayne Burke, 34, address unavailable (Burke County), was killed in an "officer-related shooting incident" early Monday morning after being found in the department's evidence room with an ax.

Sanford referred other questions to the Thomson office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent-in-Charge Pat Morgan did not return calls from the Statesboro Herald seeking comment Monday.

According to reports, a Sardis officer was on patrol when he noticed someone had broken into the police station through the back door. He called for assistance from Burke County sheriff's deputies and when they discovered Burke in the evidence room, armed with an ax, they became involved in an altercation ending when an officer fired, killing Burke.

The case remains under GBI investigation.

Burke experienced a stretch of trouble with law enforcement after his resignation from the Sardis Police Department in 2009 stemming from accusations he sent nude photos of himself to a woman.

The most recent altercation with police was his being arrested in August after breaking into a Sylvania police lieutenant's patrol car while it was parked in front of the department.

According to Sylvania police reports, Burke approached the police department while officers were responding to a call. Sylvania firefighters, who were in the fire station next to the police department, questioned Burke as he appeared in shorts and no shirt, carrying a "slim-jim," a device used to unlock cars.

When firefighters questioned Burke, he said he was there to talk to police officers and that he would return when they came back from the call, according to reports. He left, and firefighters notified Lt. Tony Taylor, who returned to find that his car had been entered, police reports say.

The patrol car showed evidence of being broken into by someone using a slim-jim. Also, a set of keys, a gas key and an office key were missing, police said.

Burke was charged with entering auto and false statements and writings, according to booking reports from the Screven County Sheriff's Department.

That incident followed a long list of violations after Burke's resignation as a Sardis police officer in connection with the nude photo incident.

According to reports, Burke resigned when controversy surfaced because he reportedly texted a nude photo of himself, taken in the Sardis Police Department bathroom, to a woman in the same town.

Her daughter intercepted the photo and forwarded it to several others, according to reports.

Around the same time, Burke was being investigated by GBI regarding reports that he threw bricks through the windows of two Sardis homes.

Witnesses said he was dressed in black and fled when one homeowner fired a shotgun, according to reports. He was arrested on charges of terroristic threats and acts stemming from that incident, after being taken into custody by GBI agents when he reported for Taser training in Sylvania in May 2010.

Not long afterward, Burke was stopped for running a stop sign in Sardis and was found to have guns and drugs (pain medication and Ecstasy) in his possession, according to reports. He first claimed to be a military police officer, then changed his story when he produced a badge he received when working as a Screven County jailer.

In April 2012, a burglary was reported in Sardis, with the victim claiming $16,000 worth of jewelry stolen. After investigations continued and some of the jewelry was found in a Savannah pawn shop, Burke turned himself in to police in July, according to reports.

He was out on bond for that case when he broke into the Sylvania police car. It is unclear when he was released from jail regarding these incidents and charges.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.



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