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Healing begins for family
Suspects kin ready to move on after shooting
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Forsyth County News
The healing process has begun for the family of a bank robbery suspect shot to death early last week at a south Forsyth gas station.

James Matthew Kenny, 50, of Cumming, was killed Aug. 17 by a Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy at a gas station near the Midway community after he refused to drop his weapon.

The shooting occurred minutes after an armed bank robbery was reported at Wachovia bank at Bethelview and Castleberry roads. The suspect fled in a van bearing the words “James Kenny Professional Painters.”

Kenny’s sister, Jacqueline Kenny, said her family received paperwork Monday night that brought clarity and peace of mind.

“We received a lot of information that got us some closure,” said Kenny, who declined to discuss the paperwork in detail.

Kenny said she, her brother and their three other siblings were raised in a close-knit, Roman Catholic family in northern New Jersey.

She said her brother moved to Georgia in 1990 or 1991, bringing his painting business with him. Kenny’s parents, brother and another sister had already relocated to the area.

Kenny’s mother, Carol Kenny, said she’s trying to find the strength to deal with her son’s death.

“I realize how that officer must feel at having to do this and my prayers go out to him also,” she said. “We didn’t know that something would happen like this to our son.

“I saw it on the news. So to see something like that on the news is devastating ... It just breaks our heart that he was laying in the street in blood and we couldn’t be there with him.”

The situation unfolded quickly Aug. 17.

Authorities received a report at 1:01 p.m. that an armed robber had entered the bank, jumped over a counter, took money and fled in a work van.

At 1:10 p.m., sheriff’s Sgt. William Brent Weeks radioed that he was behind the van and pulled in behind it at the Texaco gas station on Hwy. 9 near Hamby Road.

At that point, authorities have said, Kenny got out of the van holding a weapon. Weeks ordered him several times to put it down. When Kenny refused, Weeks opened fire.

Another deputy, Greg Krause, arrived just as the shooting happened. Both he and Weeks were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Sheriff Ted Paxton said he thinks Kenny was hit by four of the five shots Weeks fired.

Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins said Weeks and Krause are expected to return to work this week. He declined to say what kind of weapon Kenny was holding during the incident.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling the shooting probe. GBI spokesman John Bankhead has declined to comment on the investigation, other than to say it would be several weeks before it is complete.

Paxton said the incident was filmed by a camera in Weeks’ patrol car, as well as the store’s security system.

Jacqueline Kenny said she thought her brother used a pellet gun.

She said Kenny may have been depressed and was taking Xanax, which was prescribed to him. The drug is commonly used to treat anxiety and depression and can be addictive. She did not think he was in dire financial trouble.

Kenny said her brother was quiet and kept to himself. She described him as a loving brother who made sure to see her after work whenever she traveled from New Jersey to visit their parents in Dawsonville.

She said he was divorced and the father of two sons, ages 22 and 13. She did not know if he had been in contact with them recently.

He was a gifted painter and room designer who could make people laugh and was a huge NASCAR fan who favored Dale Earnhardt Jr., she said.

“I’m not saying he was angelic,” she said. “He had his moments and my family has respect for the police ... It just hits so close to home, you’re devastated.”