Bystander shoots at man allegedly attacking deputy outside gas station

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — A bystander shot at a man who was attacking an officer outside a gas station, according to the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.

Officials say a deputy was giving the man a ride to a Chevron gas station at Highway 53 and Georgia 400 in Dawson County. The deputy was about to give the man money, when the suspect began to beat the deputy in the face and head with his fist, authorities say.

Store owner Aseem Khan couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"I've never heard anything like this and it should have never happened," he told Channel 2's Carl Willis.

Khan says the deputy who was being attacked is well known in the area.

"(The deputy is) one of the nicest guys we all know here. He's a jolly personality," he said.

The Dawson County sheriff said the deputy had just helped the man who was attacking him.

"He's known and notorious for helping others," said Sheriff Jeff Johnson.


He gave the man a courtesy ride to the store and was about to hand him money out of his own pocket when the man started punching him.

"I was very worried he was going for the gun and thank God the police officer had his hand on the gun all the time," said Khan.

A bystander saw what was happening, pulled out her gun and shot at the suspect, who ran across the street to McDonald's. Deputies say the man then assaulted a woman at the McDonald's.

"I truly believe that she's a hero. I believe that she potentially saved this officer's life. I don't know how far this suspect would have went with the assault," said Johnson.

Deputies arrested the man at the restaurant.

The injured officer, woman and the suspect were taken to area hospitals.

The deputy was identified as Sgt. Randy Harkness, 52. He is a 24-year veteran of the sheriff's office. He has been treated and released from the hospital.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.