Officer wounds suspect in shootout

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

NORCROSS -- A man shot by a Gwinnett County police officer Monday is in critical condition but is expected to survive, authorities said.

The man, who police have not identified, allegedly fired at the officer while running on foot from a traffic stop in the 4200 block of Steve Reynolds Boulevard.

"The officer, fearing for his safety, returned fire, striking the suspect once," said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli.

The man was possibly struck in the head, though reports are unconfirmed, police said.

According to reports, the officer, also unidentified, pulled over the green, 2000 Honda Civic at about 4 p.m. near Beaver Ruin Road for an "equipment violation." After getting the driver's identification, reports said, the officer returned to his patrol car. That's when police said the man, the vehicle's sole occupant, left the Civic and made a run for it.

The officer gave chase.

It was about 100 yards or so later, Schiralli said, that the fleeing man pulled a handgun and fired at least one round at the officer, who was not injured in the incident.

The suspect was taken to an area hospital, authorities said.

Authorities declined to comment on why the man may have decided to run.

"The motive behind the suspect's flight and apparent intent to shoot the officer remain under investigation," said Gwinnett police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly. "Criminal charges against the suspect are pending."

Personnel from the Gwinnett Police Deadly Force Investigations Team, the Crime Scene Investigations Unit and the Professional Standards Unit (Internal Affairs) responded to the scene.

Kelly said the officer will be placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.