- Story Highlights
- Two Forest Park police officers responded to a reckless driving call Wednesday.
- Both were shot during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect.
- One is expected to remain in ICU for a while, police said. The other is recovering well.
One of two officers shot in the line of duty Wednesday has been released from the hospital while the other recovers after being shot in the neck.
Forest Park police Officer Demarkus Hutcherson was released from the hospital Thursday after he was shot in the leg by James Jacob Bailey, Channel 2 Action News reported. In a statement released by his family, Hutcherson said:
“I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes for myself and my coworker. I am doing fine considering the circumstances. But I would like for everyone to continue to pray for not only my coworker but my brother and his family. Despite the emotional physical and mental uphill battle there is to come I look forward to returning full duty.”
A family representative for Officer Tim Sterrett’s family, Sam Polk, told Channel 2 that Sterrett will pull through from his injuries.
“I talked to him. He's in very good spirits. He's doing well,” Polk said.
Sterrett was shot in the neck area and had surgery Wednesday night at Grady Memorial Hospital, Forest Park Maj. Chris Matson said.
“He is showing signs of improvement ... and will remain in ICU for a while,” he said.
Late Thursday morning, the official GBI Twitter account said early indications are that Bailey was killed by a bullet from one of the officers' guns.
However, the agency does not know if the bullet that killed Bailey came from the gun of Sterrett or the firearm of Hutcherson.
“Early indication is that during the exchange of gunfire, a bullet from one of the officers’ firearms struck Bailey, causing his death,” the GBI said in a tweet.
About 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sterrett and Hutcherson responded to the 4700 block of Mitchell Street after learning Bailey was driving a motorcycle recklessly and not wearing a helmet, Matson said.
Bailey, 30, ran as officers approached, according to police.
The officers followed him behind a house on Mitchell Street, and were shot after an exchange of gunfire, Matson said.
Authorities do not know how many shots were fired.
Responding officers got Sterrett and Hutcherson out of the way and set up a perimeter. A middle school was placed on lockdown. After a search, Bailey was found dead behind the house.
At the time Sterrett and Hutcherson encountered him, Bailey had an active warrant for a probation violation, a Department of Community Supervision officer said.
A 2010 document indicates a first offender sentence for Bailey for a methamphetamine count, cruelty to children and battery-family violence, Channel 2 reported. A 2016 document indicates a theft by taking charge and a negotiated guilty plea sentence of seven years. Upon serving one year, the remaining six “may be served on probation,” officials wrote in the document.
Both officers have been with the department for about two years, Matson said.
In a statement released to Channel 2 by Hutcherson, the officer said he has always desired to be a police officer who made a difference.
“My commitment has not changed and my desire to continue to protect and serve is still the same as it always has been,” Hutcherson said in his statement. “This situation has only made me more committed to being a positive image for police officers and continue my dedication to my department and the community. Please continue to keep my brother and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Along with the entire Forest Park Police Department who has been greatly impacted by this situation.”
EXCLUSIVE: Over the Line: Police shootings in Georgia
INTERACTIVE: Mapping officer-involved shootings
There have been 80 officer-involved shootings in Georgia this year, according to the GBI, which investigates use-of-force cases. In 2016, the GBI investigated 77 officer-involved shootings.
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