ATLANTA – A Georgia State Patrol trooper was shot and a protester was killed during an altercation near the “Cop City” police training center in Atlanta on Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Public Safety confirmed.
The shooting occurred during a “cleanup operation” at the site around 10 a.m., Colonel Chris Wright of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said at a news conference at Grady Memorial Hospital.
At one point, Wright says the defendant opened fire, hitting the officer. Police returned fire, killing the suspect. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Michael Register said the suspect opened fire first. This happened while the police were clearing the area from the forest.
“An individual, without warning, opened fire on a Georgia State Patrol trooper,” the Register said. “Other policemen returned fire in self-defense and moved the soldier to a safe place. The person who fired at the policemen and shot the soldier was killed by the gun.”
The Georgia State Patrol is investigating near the scene of an alleged shooting on Jan. 18, 2023. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
Wright said the wounded soldier has been removed from surgery and is in stable condition in the ICU. He was shot in the “pelvic-area” and was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Officials have not released any information about the soldier or the person who was killed in the crash.
Several law enforcement agencies have responded to DeKalb County where the investigation is ongoing.
Legal staff outside Grady Hospital in Atlanta. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
The Register reported that people were arrested. He said the law enforcement response to the protests was “difficult” and said some people involved in organized crime organized it, while others acted as individuals.
“They are endangering the community and the citizens around this area,” Mr Register said.
In an email to FOX 5 Atlanta, the organization Stop Cop City ATL said, it is “unclear” if Georgia State Patrol troopers were injured by “police, protestor, or police fire.”
“Police have repeatedly attacked protest camps in Weelaunee Forest, harassed and detained neighbors walking in the park, and attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets,” he said. “During the previous attacks, the police have increased violence against the protestors (sic) who were sitting in trees or standing in public areas. Many times, they cut branches of trees and tied ropes from under the trees in ways that could lead to . Serious injury or death. Today’s act began when dozens of armed police blocked off a public road and pointed guns at the park.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to news of the state trooper’s injury. He has bravely stood up to Cop City’s protests.
GEORGIA GOV. RESPONDING TO ‘COP CITY’ EVENTS
“Our thoughts remain with him and his family, and our determination remains steadfast and steadfast to see the perpetrators brought to justice,” Kemp said.
DeKalb County Sheriff Michael Thurmond said officials are helping law enforcement.
“DeKalb County is sending our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to the Georgia State Patrol trooper who was shot today in DeKalb County,” Thurmond said in a statement. “DeKalb County will continue to work closely with and provide support to the multi-agency law enforcement team responsible for maintaining order and safety.”
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What is Cop City?
The wooded area of the southeast Atlanta has been the site of several exhibitions since 2021 where a the city voted in favor of the construction near the site of a former Atlanta prison farm after weeks of protests. The training center will include a shooting range, classrooms, a mock village, emergency vehicle training, stables for police horses, and a “fire house” for firefighters to try to put out fires.
Groups that oppose the proposed ordinance and training center for first responders call it an expansion of the police state that threatens the Atlanta forest.
The 85-acre property belongs to the city of Atlanta but is outside the city limits in unincorporated DeKalb County, and includes a former state prison farm.
Opponents of the training center have been opposition months by building a tower in the surrounding trees and camping there. They say the $90 million construction project, which will be funded by the Atlanta Police Foundation, involves cutting down so many trees that it will harm the environment. They also oppose investing heavily in what they call “Cop City,” which they say will be used for “urban warfare.”
OCCUPIERS CALL POLICE OFFICES BUILDING OVERSEAS PARTIES NEAR ‘COP CITY’ VISION
Several people have been arrested at the site on charges that include domestic violence. The latest arrest occurred in December, where the police arrested five people while they were trying to remove the barricades that blocked the entrance to the place.
Meanwhile, officials say firefighters and police were attacked with stones and incendiary weapons.
Earlier this year, Gov. Brian Kemp called the group a group of “terrorists who have also committed domestic violence across the country,” saying they would bring “All power should come down to those who are trying to bring radical ideas through violence.”
Groups providing legal aid to the protesters said they were unarmed and non-violent, saying the police had been conducting a campaign against the group.