21-year-old Gunner Cole Harding faces a litany of charges following a Grand Jury indictment in Walton County on January 26, 2024, including first-degree premeditated murder.
In total, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office charged Hardin with one count of First Degree Premeditated Murder, five counts of Attempted First Degree Premeditated Murder, and six counts of Shooting At, Into, or Within an Occupied Vehicle stemming from an incident in September of 2023.
The indictment stems from Harding’s alleged actions while in Sandestin. Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene after several calls came into their 911 center, which reported an active shooter situation.
Deputies promptly took Harding into custody, and subsequent investigations revealed two individuals had been shot, vehicles damaged, and numerous bullet casings scattered throughout the area.
Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Josh Mitchell leads the legal proceedings for State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden for the First Judicial Circuit. The ongoing investigation aims to uncover the motives and circumstances surrounding the incident, shedding light on the events leading up to the shooting.
Gunner Cole Harding, a resident of Warner Robbins, Georgia according to Walton County Sheriff’s Office records, has a bond amount of $610,000, and has not yet been released from jail on bail as of this writing.
An indictment is a formal way of accusing someone of a crime. It’s like saying, “We believe this person did something wrong, and we have evidence to prove it.” There are two main ways to formally charge someone:
Indictment by a Grand Jury: A group of people called a grand jury looks at the evidence presented by a prosecutor. If they think there’s enough evidence, they issue an indictment.
Criminal Complaint: The prosecutor can directly file charges with the court without needing approval from a grand jury.
Having an indictment is important because it lets the legal system take action against a person for the crimes they are accused of. It’s a way of making sure that nobody can be put on trial for a crime without being told what they are accused of first.
How It Works: In a proceeding, which is like a legal meeting, the prosecutor shows evidence to the grand jury. The grand jury then decides if there’s enough proof to charge someone with a crime. This process is kept private, meaning the details are not shared with the public.
What’s in an Indictment: Each state decides how to do indictments, but there are some common rules. The indictment must:
These rules are meant to ensure that the person being accused knows exactly what they are charged with. It’s like a set of instructions for the legal process.