South Georgia officer shot while attempting to stop suspect in car break-ins

Statesboro police Officer Joey Deloach was shot in the line of duty Tuesday.

Credit: Statesboro police

Credit: Statesboro police

Statesboro police Officer Joey Deloach was shot in the line of duty Tuesday.

The GBI is investigating a shooting that injured both a South Georgia police officer and a man accused of breaking into vehicles, according to investigators.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Statesboro officers were called to the Cooper Beach Townhomes about a report that a man was entering cars in the parking lot. In the complex, Officer Joey Deloach saw a man matching the suspect’s description inside a parked vehicle, authorities said.

Deloach approached the man, later identified as 19-year-old Anthony De’Jarion Kent of Vidalia, and ordered him out of the vehicle, Statesboro police said. That’s when Kent began shooting, according to the GBI.

Media Release Officer Involved Shooting investigation 4/17/24 On 4/16/24 at 9:59 p.m. SPD officers were dispatched to...

Posted by Statesboro Police Department on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

“During the encounter, there was an exchange of gunfire,” the GBI said in a news release. “Kent ran away from the scene but was subsequently apprehended by law enforcement.”

Deloach was taken first to East Georgia Regional Medical Center and then flown to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where he underwent emergency surgery, according to officials.

“SPD asks for the public’s prayers for his swift recovery,” Statesboro police said in a Facebook post.

An update on his condition was not provided.

Meanwhile, Kent ran into a wooded area but was soon taken into custody, police said. Kent, who was also injured, was taken to a local hospital before being booked into the Bulloch County jail. He faces a charge of aggravated assault on a public safety officer. At the time of his arrest, Kent also had an active felony warrant in Treutlen County, police said. The charge was not specified.

It was the 19th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year. At this time last year, the state agency had investigated 31 such shootings.