The GBI is beginning 2019 with a new case of a deadly police shooting.
A man was fatally shot by an off-duty officer at a liquor store near Stone Mountain late on New Year’s Eve, according to the GBI. DeKalb County police requested the state agency’s assistance Tuesday.
Officer Michael Stokes, who is a member of the Pine Lake police force, was working security at Big John’s Package Store on Memorial Drive when a man entered with a gun around 11 p.m., fired a shot and told everyone to get on the ground, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.
The officer “immediately fired at the subject,” Miles said in a statement. He tried to run but collapsed outside the store.
The gunman was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A cashier, Ture Ayanno, told Channel 2 Action News the entire incident was over in seconds. He saw the man enter the front of store, then he heard the gunfire from the officer seated near a row of coolers in the back.
“I don't even think he got a chance to get the whole words out,” Ayanno said of the gunman’s demands.
Surveillance video obtained by Channel 2 showed the officer fire across the store in the direction of the gunman. Several customers inside ducked for cover, but no one else was reported injured.
“At this time, police have not been able to identify the subject,” Miles said Tuesday morning.
While the GBI is considering the incident its first officer-involved shooting case of the new year, the shooting is the last of 94 total shootings involving Georgia officers in 2018.
It is the 11th officer-involved shooting in December alone, including two incidents that claimed the lives of two Georgia officers. Rookie DeKalb police officer Edgar Isidro Flores, 24, was shot and killed Dec. 13 during a traffic stop on Candler Road.
On Friday, Henry County officer Michael Smith died as a result of his injuries after being shot Dec. 6 during a struggle with a man in a dentist’s office. Smith, 33, was a seven-year veteran of the force and a married father of a 3-year-old boy. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
The Monday night incident in DeKalb County brings the total number of deadly shootings involving Georgia law enforcement officers in 2018 to 53.
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.