What began as a reckless driving call Wednesday turned into a shooting that left a man dead, one Forest Park police officer in critical condition, another with non-life-threatening injuries and a middle school on lockdown.
About 10:45 a.m., the officers responded to the 4700 block of Mitchell Street after learning a motorcyclist was driving recklessly and not wearing a helmet, Forest Park police Maj. Chris Matson said.
The motorcyclist, identified by police as 30-year-old James Jacob Bailey, ran.
The officers followed him behind a house on Mitchell Street. An exchange of gunfire took place, and both officers were shot, Matson said.
Authorities do not know how many shots were fired, Sgt. Kelli Flanagan said.
Responding officers got the injured officers out of the way and set up a perimeter. After a search, Bailey was found dead behind the house.
“It is not known for sure how Bailey died,” Matson said.
A 2010 document indicates a first offender sentence for Bailey for a methamphetamine count, cruelty to children and battery-family violence, Channel 2 Action News reported. And a 2016 document indicates a theft by taking charge and a negotiated guilty plea sentence of seven years but upon serving one year, the remaining six "may be served on probation."
A Department of Community Supervision officer said at the time Forest Park officers encountered Bailey and he shot them, he had an active probation violation warrant out for him.
One of the wounded officers was taken to WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South. He was identified as DeMarcus Hutcherson by Channel 2.
The other officer was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.
One was shot in the leg and is alert. The other was shot in the neck and was out of surgery, Channel 2 reported about 5 p.m.
Both officers have been with the department for about two years, Matson said.
Channel 2 spoke one-on-one with Forest Park police Chief Dwayne Hobbs outside of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.
“It never gets easy when it’s one of your own,” Hobbs told the news station.
“You have a battery of emotions that you go through, the things that you got to do, the responsibility that you have, but at the same time you’re battling, because you got two officers, the conditions are not known whether you’re going through all that,” Hobbs said.
EXCLUSIVE: Over the Line: Police shootings in Georgia
INTERACTIVE: Mapping officer-involved shootings
GBI officials were on the scene to investigate, which is routine in use-of-force cases.
There have been 80 officer-involved shootings in Georgia this year, according to the agency. In 2016, the GBI investigated 77 officer-involved shootings.
Officials eventually lifted the lockdown at Forest Park Middle School and dismissed students on time.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.