CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Police continue to search for a man they said ran down a police officer with his truck and then fled the scene.
The incident started just after noon Wednesday when officers were called to Frontage Road and Dixie Highway after reports of a burglary at a nearby Kmart distribution center.
Clayton County police said when an officer approached a black pickup truck connected to the crime, the driver struck him with the vehicle. The injured officer was identified as Michael Hooks, a 10-year veteran of the force. Police later identifed that driver as Thomas Paige.
A witness told Channel 2’s Tom Jones he saw the officer thrown more than 100 feet.
“The black pickup truck just came right around at a high rate of speed and just ran him over,” the witness said.
Officers then fired at the truck, police said.
“One suspect fled into the wood line. The other subject fled in the truck. We captured the one in the wood line,” Clayton County police Maj. Jim Webster said.
Police said Paige got stuck on the side of the road, got out and ran. The passenger, Jabari Jackson was taken into custody, but police are still looking for Paige. Sources told Channel 2’s Tom Jones that the passenger was charged with loitering, prowling and obstruction.
Hooks was flown to Atlanta Medical Center. He suffered head injuries, but police said Thursday his condition was improving.
“All I can tell you is that we need very much for the public’s help to please step up to the plate and try and give us some information on the whereabouts of this gentlemen,” Webster said.
Channel 2’s Craig Lucie went to the nearby Regal Park apartment complex, where officers were still searching at 6 p.m. There were U.S. Marshals with rifles, search dogs and at least a half-dozen marked law enforcement cars in the area. Officers were going door to door, questioning residents and alerting them of the potential danger.
During an evening news conference, Webster said officers are determined to find Paige.
“One of our own has been hurt, and we come together,” he said.
Later on Wednesday night, a Lithonia neighborhood was shut down after a SWAT team was called to a home on Cedar Croft Court.
Investigators told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri that they received a tip that Thomas Paige was inside the home.
Police said the tip that came in said the home was that of Paige’s girlfriend, but it turned out he was not inside.
Paige has been incarcerated in state prison four times. His most recent conviction was in Cobb County in 2007, when he was jailed for a burglary. Webster said Paige also was arrested last year for a run-in similar to Wednesday’s incident, but the details are unclear.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police at 770-477-3605.