Avery Richard was shot and killed by an FBI agent in southwest Atlanta on Friday. Richard had been wanted by GBI authorities after they say he shot a Banks County deputy at Tanger Outlets in Commerce. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

FBI agents kill Tanger Outlet suspect after 2-day crime spree

The man accused of shooting a sheriff’s deputy at Tanger Outlet mall was killed Friday afternoon following a string of crimes committed in the past few days. 

Avery Richard had been on the run for two days before he was shot and killed by FBI agents executing a search warrant. 

Officials had planned to serve the warrant at a home, but wound up at a shopping center at the intersection of Hamilton E. Holmes Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, where Richard shot the agent, FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said at a press conference. 

Other agents fired back at least twice, killing Richard and striking a 32-year-old woman who was with the suspect, Emmett said. The woman and agent were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

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“It was a high risk arrest,” Emmett said. “(FBI agents) went into it knowing he was armed and dangerous and that he’d shot a sheriff’s deputy.” 

Richard, 32, had been wanted since Wednesday after authorities say he shot a Banks County sheriff’s deputy at the Tanger Outlet mall in Commerce. He had been released from prison in October on an aggravated assault conviction, according to the Department of Corrections. 

Deputies had initially gotten a call about an armed robbery on the Atlanta Dragway. Not long after, Richard stole a car and drove toward the outlet mall. 

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When a deputy tried to pull the car over, Richard got out and fired multiple times at the deputy, who was still in his patrol car, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. The deputy, whose name has not been released, was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition. His bulletproof vest stopped the bullet. 

But the crime spree didn’t end there. 

Richard, GBI officials said, had kidnapped and forced a woman at gunpoint to drive him to Atlanta on Thursday. The woman was found with minor injuries, Miles said. It was the victim’s description that led to a sketch of Richard and a $20,000 reward for his arrest. 

In that time, local and federal officials launched a search across Northeast Georgia before spreading to Atlanta, where Richards was shot and killed. 

FBI and GBI authorities are still working to piece together the past 48 hours. 

Emmett said the FBI is still investigating how officials were led to the shopping center since they initially planned to serve Richard the warrant at home. The relationship between the woman and Richard is not known. 

Miles said the GBI is continuing its investigation into the Banks County deputy shooting, but are relieved that the search for Richard is over. 

“This is a huge relief,” she said. “This impacted many parts of the state…so everyone was on high alert and very concerned.”

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