LOCUST GROVE, Ga. — The killing of a police officer and wounding of two deputies in a sudden, unexpected burst of gunfire has left a Georgia town in shock.
The fallen officer’s wife is expecting the couple’s second baby. The town’s mayor broke down as he spoke about the officer and his family hours after Friday morning’s shooting.
“We just need a lot of prayers for he and his wife and the baby that’s coming into this world without a daddy because of somebody …” Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price said, choking up during an interview. “We got to pray for the two county officers that’s wounded.”
The wounded Henry County deputies were taken to hospitals, and the suspect, identified as Tierra Guthrie, 39, was killed, authorities said.
Gunfire broke out as the officers were serving an arrest warrant about 11 a.m. at a home in Locust Grove, about 40 miles (65 kilometres) southeast of Atlanta, Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer said.
Price and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified the slain officer as Chase Maddox, 26, who had been with the department since he was 22.
McBrayer said one deputy was in serious condition and undergoing surgery, and had been hit below the bulletproof vest in his stomach area. The other was in fair condition, and was hit in the vest.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation later Friday identified the wounded deputies as Michael D. Corley and Ralph Sidwell “Sid” Callaway. Bureau spokeswoman Nelly Miles said Corley had been released from the hospital and Callaway was listed in stable condition after surgery.
Gunshots were fired inside the house as the deputies were trying to take the suspect into custody on a warrant from the municipal court in Locust Grove, McBrayer said. He wouldn’t say who fired first or give other details about how it happened.
The sheriff said that “after about 10 minutes of talking with him (they) realized they were going to be making an arrest, and they were going to have issues placing him in custody.” At that point they called Locust Grove for backup from an officer.
He said they had no reason to believe when they arrived that the suspect would be violent.
Police blocked off multiple entrances of a subdivision not far from an outlet mall, and turned away people who don’t live in the neighbourhood.
Yellow police tape cordoned off a section of one home’s front yard. Nearby Locust Grove Elementary School was put on lockdown.
Juankeena Rodgers, 36, lives in the subdivision but police on Friday afternoon weren’t allowing her to go back home.
“It’s quiet. I’ve never had any issues and I pray I don’t have any, said Rodgers, who has lived there nearly two years.
“It’s scary because you never know who is in your neighbourhood.”
Jeff Martin, The Associated Press