Man caught in middle of deadly shooting says police officer saved his life

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The man caught in the middle of an officer-involved shooting is thanking the officer who he said saved his life from an armed robber.

We first brought you this story on New Year's Day when police said a robber walked into a DeKalb County liquor store, shooting at customers and workers.

The owner of the store told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr that he called to thank his security guard for shooting and stopping the man, who later died.

Surveillance video obtained by Channel 2 Action News showed the officer fire across the store in the direction of the gunman. Several customers inside ducked for cover, but no one else was reported injured.


Erick Ferguson said he has spent a lot of time thinking about the night he was caught in the middle of a deadly officer-involved shooting.

"I think God has a purpose for me and that's why he brought me out of that situation," Ferguson said.

In the surveillance video, he is the man in the blue shirt trying to buy ginger ale for a New Year's Eve party.

An armed robber can be seen bursting through the door and firing a warning shot within inches of Ferguson, who says he thought of his teenage daughter then.

"I gotta survive for her, so of course my thought was get out of the door, because I just didn't want to be trapped inside," Ferguson said.

From the other side of Big John's package store, an off-duty Pine Lake police officer working security returned fire within seconds.

Ferguson showed Channel 2's Matt Johnson how he and the gunman both headed for the door but the bullets only hit and killed the suspect.

"We bumped into each other and it looked like he kind of tossed me off of him. I'm glad," Ferguson said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is classifying the incident as an officer-involved shooting and is investigating what happened.

Ferguson said the officer had no other choice but to shoot to kill.

"I'm thankful for that police officer. Yes, my life was in danger. If he would have got away, what could have happened?" Ferguson said.

Johnson checked with the GBI on Monday and investigators said they have identified the suspect but they have not yet been able to notify his next of kin.

The owner of the package store said the officer who works security is welcome to come back once the investigation is complete.