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JUST IN: Sketch of Tanger Outlet shooter released

Authorities early Thursday released a sketch of a gunman suspected of shooting a Banks County sheriff’s deputy in the chest at the Tanger Outlet mall in Commerce.

Agencies throughout northeast Georgia including Hall County and Georgia State Patrol SWAT teams are searching for the shooter, according to the GBI.

The deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest and is expected to be OK, but the gunman ran into nearby woods, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

RELATED:  Deputy saved by bulletproof vest during Tanger Outlet shooting

Deputies initially responded to an armed robbery about 4:10 p.m. Wednesday at the Atlanta Dragway, Miles said.

Soon after, the shooter stole a car and drove toward the outlet mall.

When a deputy tried to pull the car over in the 800 block of Steven B. Tanger Boulevard, the driver got out and fired multiple times at the deputy, who was still in his patrol car, Miles said.

The deputy was hit, but his bulletproof vest stopped the bullet.

He was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

The gunman continued to run, launching a search in the area of Steve Reynolds Industrial Parkway.

The man is believed to be armed with two weapons. Authorities say he is 6 feet, 170 pounds and in his 40s. He was last seen wearing dark clothing and a short haircut.

Anyone who comes in contact with the shooter is asked to immediately call 911.

— Staff writer Ellen Eldridge contributed to this story.

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