A Fulton County, Georgia deputy who was fatally shot in his wrecked personal vehicle in Atlanta early Thursday has been identified as being from Mississippi.
Crime Stoppers has issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect in this case.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said in a press conference Thursday that the deputy has not been publicly identified yet pending notification of next of kin and contact with his last agency, identified only as a small local agency in Georgia.
The deputy, who was 24 years old, was “what you would want in a deputy,” Labat said. Fulton County had recruited him from that smaller agency “specifically for his love for what he does and what he could bring to our agency.”
“He was the life of the party, just a very, very good spirit,” he said. “It didn’t matter what the situation was.”
The investigation has been turned over completely to the Atlanta Police Department, Labat said.
APD Investigator Major Peter Malecki told reporters that a call came in to 911 around 4:30 a.m. Thursday for a person shot in the 1900 block of Bolton Road. When officers arrived, they found a male inside a wrecked vehicle. He had been fatally shot. Malecki said it was unclear if the car had crashed before or after he was shot.
A witness in a van that collided with the deputy’s vehicle came forward and said they saw the deputy’s Ford Fusion driving erratically, so they sped up to pass it. They heard what they thought was a gunshot, Malecki said, and that was when the deputy’s car made contact with their van.
Police have ruled out the witness in the van as a suspect, saying that person had been cooperative.
The deputy had worked his job on the Grady Detention Unit Wednesday night, authorities said. Labat said establishing his whereabouts between when he got off and when he got shot will be key.
Malecki said there has to be a witness out there because someone called in a person shot to 911. It’s unclear if the shooter was in a vehicle or on foot, Malecki said, and police did not say if it was known whether there was anyone riding in the vehicle with the deputy.
It was early, so there wasn’t much vehicle or pedestrian traffic, he said.
“We’re not ruling anything out,” he said. “Any information that anyone has will help us piece this together.”
Authorities ask that anyone who may have heard gunshots or seen anything suspicious or out of place in the area of Bolton Road and James Jackson Parkway that night call APD or Crimestoppers at 404-577-TIPS.
Darkhorse Press will not publish the deputy’s name until Atlanta police do, out of respect for his family. This is a developing story.