GBI investigates shootings near proposed public safety training site

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has released more information about an incident in DeKalb County that left one person dead and a Georgia Department of Public Safety trooper injured after a shooting near the site of a future police training center.

Officials with the GBI said the incident occurred while law enforcement from multiple departments gathered “to conduct an operation to identify people who are trespassing and committing other crimes on the property.”

“At about 9 a.m. (on Jan. 18), as law enforcement was moving through the property, officers located a man inside a tent in the woods,” stated GBI officials. “Officers gave verbal commands to the man who did not comply and shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper. Other law enforcement officers returned fire, hitting the man. Law enforcement evacuated the trooper to a safe area. The man died on scene. The injured Georgia State Patrol trooper was taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. A handgun and shell casings were located at the scene.”

The identification of the man who died and the trooper that was injured was not available at press time.

During the planned operation, GBI officials said “several people” were arrested and detained in the DeKalb County jail.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond are among the officials speaking about the incident.

“My team and Atlanta Police Department (APD) are providing full support to our state and county partners as they secure the site in DeKalb County and investigate the incident,” said Dickens. “Our prayers of a speedy recovery are with this trooper.”

“DeKalb County Government offers its thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for the Georgia State Patrol officer shot in DeKalb County,” said Thurmond. “DeKalb County will continue to cooperate with and provide support to the multijurisdictional law enforcement task force charged with maintaining peace and security.”

The property, which is a forested area owned by the city of Atlanta inside DeKalb County, has been the center of protests for months.

According to members of Stop Cop City, an organization of protestors who oppose construction of the training facility, “dozens of heavily armed DeKalb County Police, Georgia State Police, and Atlanta Police shut down Intrenchment Creek Park and nearby streets and entered the Weelaunee Forest,” at the time of the shooting.

“Community members have been calling in to Mayor Andre Dickens, the Atlanta Police Foundation, and DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond to demand the police operation in Weelaunee Forest be ended immediately,” stated the press release from members of Stop Cop City.

GBI officials said the joint investigation is active and ongoing.

“Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local law enforcement or the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS,” stated a GBI press release.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online.

This is a developing story.

Jay Phillips contributed to this article.

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