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Wounded Lavonia officer: ‘I’m just very thankful’

One of two Georgia police officers wounded during a violent traffic stop spoke for the first time Sunday about the moments before the encounter with the alleged gunman.

Lavonia police Officer Jeffery Martin and Capt. Michael Schulman were shot Dec. 12 outside a Zaxby’s restaurant near the I-85 exit, authorities said. 

The area is about 93 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.

It started as “just an ordinary traffic stop,” Martin said.

He and Schulman later discovered the man in the car, 22-year-old Khari Anthony Dashaun Gordon of Greenville, S.C., was driving a stolen vehicle.

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"He wasn't disrespectful,” Martin said. “He said he was scared.”

When the officers attempted to take Gordon into custody, he produced a handgun and shot both officers, Lavonia police Chief Bruce Carlisle said.

Martin, 22, was shot in the hand. Schulman, 50, was shot under the arm.

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“It just happened in a second,” Martin said.

His comments came after a candlelight vigil at Lavonia Elementary School that drew about 200 supporters of the officers, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Martin had surgery last week and is undergoing therapy.

"I'm just very thankful," he said Sunday.

Carlisle recently visited Schulman in the hospital, Channel 2 reported.

"I went and saw him this afternoon,” Carlisle told Channel 2. “ He's up. We were talking, and he got to eat for the first time in seven days. He's feeling better, and we're just praising the Lord for that." 

Gordon was arrested on two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, two counts of criminal attempt to commit murder and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

At the time of the shooting, Gordon was out on bond in connection with an alleged homicide in another state, officials said.

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