GAINESVILLE - A suspect was shot and killed after a confrontation with Georgia State Patrol troopers Saturday night in Gainesville that resulted in injuries to three officers.
All three injured officers were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening.
The confrontation resulted from a foot pursuit after a Ford Explorer fled a road check at 8:25 p.m. on Georgia 53, according to Capt. Mark Perry with Georgia State Patrol.
“Officers of Georgia State Patrol, Hall County Sheriff’s Department and Gainesville Police Department were conducting a rolling thunder operation with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety,” Perry said in a press conference Saturday night. “A vehicle fled the road scene at Georgia 53, just south of I-985.”
Perry said two troopers began a pursuit for an improper U-turn, following the vehicle to Interstate 985, then onto Queen City Parkway and back toward Gainesville.
“Metal crunched and some wrecks happened and there was some back-and-forth between the violator and the troopers,” Perry said. “There was a crash outside of Industrial Boulevard and two males got out of the Ford Explorer they had been pursuing and a foot pursuit ensued.”
Perry said the foot chase covered about three-quarters of a mile before a trooper caught up to the suspect.
One of the troopers caught up to the driver of the vehicle and an “intense struggle for about a minute, minute and a half” followed.
“Which resulted ultimately in shots being fired and the violator being shot,” Perry said.
The officers were injured as a result of the wreck and pursuit, Perry said.
“The troopers involved, I know them personally,” Perry said. “I know they have a strong faith in God and I know that’s what it’s going to take to get them through it.”
Perry said he could not identify the violators Saturday, but said both were Hispanic males. The driver was killed and the passenger now in custody at the Hall County Detention Center.
Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said Operation Thunder was suspended “as soon as it happened.”
Officers began patrolling the streets Thursday with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety during the program in which law enforcement agents are checking for impaired drivers. The operation was initially planned to last through the weekend.
Blackwood said prior to the incident, the operation had been “very successful.”
“This is nothing we ever want to happen, but unfortunately it’s part of the job we do,” Perry said. “It’s a dangerous job.”
Perry said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will handle further investigations and an administrative investigation will be conducted by state patrol’s Office of Professional Standards.
Traffic on Queen City Parkway was blocked for much of Saturday evening following the incident as officers conducted the investigation.