Clayton County

Officer credits 'the man upstairs' with surviving shooting following traffic stop

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Forest Park police officer and former volunteer firefighter is sharing the details about the night he and another officer were shot during a traffic stop.

Cpl. Tim Sterrett and Officer Demarkus Hutcherson attempted to pull over James Jacob Bailey in November near Mitchell Street in Forest Park. Bailey shot at the officers, and they returned fire, killing him.

Sterrett told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that he knew he needed to keep calm after being shot.

“I said, ‘Hey man, this ain’t your house,’ and as soon as I did that I heard a pop and I blacked out,” Sterrett said. “As I was falling apparently I returned fire. When I woke up on the ground, I saw him standing above me. The pistol was in his left hand.”

Forest Park Cpl. Tim Sterrett said when he came to, he saw the shotoer standing above him with the gun in his hand.

Sterrett told Winne that "the man upstairs" saved him.

“I’m still breathing. The man upstairs said I still have a purpose,” Sterrett said. “I’m blessed that he gave me another chance down here to serve the citizens.”

Sterrett said he was trying to help Bailey park his motorcycle when Bailey pulled out a gun.

“As soon as I pulled the kickstand down, he went for his waistband and did a motion like this. First thing that came to my mind was a weapon,” Sterrett said.


The officer said he ran to a nearby home and as he reached for the door, Bailey shot him. 

“It started right here in my chin and it grazed a little bit right before it entered into my neck. It ended up lodging in my right shoulder,” Sterrett said, showing Winne the scars from the shooting.

Sterrett said he believes Bailey may have shot again, but Hutcherson began firing at Bailey. Hutcherson was shot in the leg. 

That’s when Sterrett said he noticed the blood gushing from his neck. 

“I applied pressure and I grabbed my gun in my left hand and I crawled around the corner of that house. I got up (and) then I started walking down towards the end of the roadway,” Sterrett said. 

He said Forest Park Fire and EMS workers then loaded him into an ambulance. Sterrett said he lost a lot of blood while on the operating table, but credits Dr. Mark Shapiro and others at Grady Memorial Hospital with saving his life. 

“I’m being treated by around 10 different specialists,” Sterrett told Winne about his recovery. 

He said he wants nothing more than to hit the streets again and serve.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay Sterrett’s living expenses.