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Georgia sheriff’s deputy killed, suspects on the run after shootout

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)

A Hall County sheriff’s deputy was killed Sunday night in a shootout with several suspects linked to weekend car break-ins and burglaries, authorities said.

The deputy, who is not being named until his family is notified, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he died.

He was one of multiple deputies who tried to stop a stolen vehicle believed to have been used in the weekend crimes, Hall County sheriff’s spokesman Derreck Booth said. The vehicle wrecked and a group jumped out and started running. The deputies followed on foot.

The deputies and the suspects exchanged gunfire in the area of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Highland Avenue in Gainesville shortly after 11 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy and a suspect were wounded.

“One of the suspects, believed to be the shooter, was hit by gunfire and was also taken to the medical center for treatment,” Booth said in a news release. “His condition is unknown at this time.”

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There is an active manhunt Monday for the remaining suspects, who authorities consider to be armed and dangerous. Gainesville police, Gwinnett County police and Georgia State Patrol troopers are joining in the search.

A description of the suspects is not available Monday morning, Booth said. Sheriff’s investigators are working to interview persons of interests and other parties.

One person was put in handcuffs around 7:30 a.m., but authorities have not identified him or said what connection, if any, he has to the deadly shooting.

The GBI has been called to investigate, which Booth said is standard sheriff’s office procedure in the event of an officer-involved shooting. Agents are on the scene.

The deadly incident is the 42nd officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated in 2019, a spokeswoman for the agency said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don’t involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI’s tally.

The slain Hall County sheriff’s deputy is the fourth officer killed in the line of duty in Georgia this year, records show.

Glascock County sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Ryer Jr., 19, of Gibson, was killed Jan. 29 in a two-vehicle crash while on the way to pick up an inmate, the Georgia State Patrol said. He had only graduated from the police training program at Augusta Technical College about six months before his death, according to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records.

Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff Spencer Englett, 29, died April 4 after suffering a “traumatic medical event” during a training exercise, authorities said. It was his first day of training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Pickens County, Sheriff Ron Freeman said at the time. It’s unclear what the “traumatic medical event” was that led to his death.

And Savannah police Sgt. Kelvin Ansari, 50, was shot and killed May 11 when he and another officer were ambushed by a robbery suspect. He was an Army vet and a father of four.

By this point in 2018, two Georgia officers had died in the line of the duty. The final tally by the end of last year was six.

Anyone with information on Sunday night’s incident is asked to call the Hall County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 770-533-7693. We have an Atlanta Journal-Constitution photographer on the scene working to learn more.

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© 2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.