ATLANTA - A community rallied Saturday in support of an Atlanta police officer shot intentionally while working an off-duty job in southeast Atlanta.
Darla Smith stood in front of a crowd of residents, police officers and local politicians in a role she thought she'd never find herself in. Her son, Atlanta police officer Christopher Smith, who has been on the force only two years, was working off-duty at the Edgewood Apartments when police say he was ambushed by a gunman. They said someone intentionally shot him in the face and leg.
"He's strong. He's doing well. He'll be back, he'll be back," Smith said.
Smith wanted to update the community he was protecting that night and let them know their efforts to live in a safer place are being recognized.
"I know you are going to be stronger for it," Smith said.
Long-time resident Earl Williamson said crime is more frequent and more intense now than in years past.
"We might have one home invasion every two years. We've had seven this year," Williamson said.
In April, an angry mob threw bricks and a hammer at two police cars as they drove through the same complex.
This latest shooting sparked a grassroots effort to take back the neighborhood even for the youngest residents.
The reward is now up to $10,000 to put away the gunman who shot Smith.
Smith said her son is at home now and has a doctor's appointment Monday. They should have a better idea then of what his recovery will look like.
If you have any information about the shooting, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and you could be eligible for a cash reward.