On August 7, 2020, in Screven County, Georgia, while pursuing Julian Edward Roosevelt Thompson (1960–2020) for a traffic offense (a broken tail light), Georgia State Patrol trooper Jacob Gordon Thompson shot Julian in the face as he sat in his car in a ditch, killing him. Thompson had attempted to stop Julian, but when he refused to stop, the officer gave chase and then used a "precision intervention technique" to force him off the road and into a ditch. Thompson then fired one shot, striking Julian in the face. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
On August 14, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that Thompson was arrested and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault and was terminated from the Department of Public Safety. Civil rights attorneys called for a federal investigation.
On June 29, 2021, a grand jury in Screven County declined to indict Thompson on either of the charges. Thompson, who is White, wrote in his incident report that Lewis, while revving his engine and turning his steering wheel, was trying to ram into him, but a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent in September had testified that such action by Julian was impossible because his car battery had disconnected when his car hit the ditch. Julian's vehicle at that point was inoperable. In addition, dash cam video from Thompson's patrol vehicle shows an elapsed time of one second between the time Thompson got out of his vehicle and the time he shot Julian.
Julian worked as a carpenter and was described by his family as a "great caring man."
A graveside service was held for Julian on August 15, 2020, at the Charlestown United Methodist Church in Sylvania.