by: Mark Winne Updated:
An officer claimed he was ambushed and stabbed, but police said it was all a lie.
A McDonough police major told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne he's withholding comment on the motive for now, but the Clayton County officer has been released on bond on charges of false report of a crime, a misdemeanor, and false statements and writings, a felony.
“Things just weren't looking right. It looked like the burglary had been staged,” said Maj. Kyle Helverson of the McDonough Police Department.
“Who stabbed him?” Winne asked Helverson.
“Himself,” Helverson said.
Clayton County Police Chief Greg Porter said Clayton County Police Officer Christopher Russo has probably taken dozens of police reports in his career there, but he won't be taking any for the time being.
“He's currently on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation,” Porter said.
Helverson said Russo filed a false report with the McDonough Police Department.
“He claimed that he walked in on a burglary in progress,” Helverson said.
Helverson said McDonough police responded to an apartment complex after Russo called 911.
He said Russo eventually gave a detailed account, laid out in a police report, about somebody ambushing him off duty, beating him, pepper spraying him and then cutting him with a knife.
Helverson said Russo said the two suspects sounded like black males though he didn’t get a good look.
But after McDonough police spent hours investigating the crime scene, things didn't add up.
“Pictures were taken and neatly place on the ground. There was an odor of OC spray ... pepper spray in the apartment, which is unusual for burglars to carry,” Helverson said. “(He) ultimately confessed to a GBI agent that assisted in this investigation that he did make up the story.”
In addition to the internal investigation into the arrest, Porter said Russo was involved in two on-duty shootings in 2013. Both were investigated by the GBI, which is routine under department policy.
“We're going to make sure that this officer gets a due process,” Porter said.
Winne tried by phone and in person to
GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said the investigations of the two shootings in which
Russo was placed in leave without pay during the investigation.
Porter told Winne that Russo had also been previously named as Officer of the Year.