SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Police continue to investigate what sparked a shooting in south Fulton County that killed veteran officer.
The incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. in the Parks at Cedar Grove neighborhood.
Fulton County police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation swarmed the fog-shrouded neighborhood after they say a gunman ambushed four officers, killing 22-year veteran Detective Terence Green and injuring another.
Fulton County police Chief Cassandra Jones said the suspect, Amanuel Menghesha, used an assault style rifle in the shooting.
“This is a dreadful event, we are asking for the prayers and support from all of the community,” Jones said.
At an afternoon news conference, county leaders expressed sorrow at the loss.
“The detective gave the ultimate sacrifice trying to protect residents in our community, trying to protect citizens. Unfortunately, he died,” said
county chairman John Eaves.
Police say they responded to the home on Parks Trails after receiving a 911 call.
Green was one of four officers sent to investigate, but they said Menghesha wasn't there.
Police said the suspect took his weapons and started walking through the neighborhood, ending up over on Chastain Way.
That's where police said Meghesha ambushed the officers in the dense fog and opened fire.
As they ran for cover, police
said one round struck Green in the back of the head. Another officer avoided serious injury when a bullet ricocheted off his belt radio.
Other officers returned fire and wounded Menghesha.
Green was rushed to the Grady Memorial Hospital, but he died there minutes later.
Other county leaders say they must now rally around their other officers and Green's family.
“I believe the best expression, however of our sadness, will be a recommitment to carry out the goals which our police aim for every day,” said Fulton County
commissioner Emma Darnell.
"It's kind of difficult knowing someone you grow up with in our field," said Maj. Darryl Halbert, who has known Green for more than 20 years. "He's one of those people you like to have around in those hairy situations because the type of personality he had would be a calming influence in a lot of ways."
"This is not the first officer we have lost. It's heartbreaking for the men and women in this department. Obviously we're going to be heartbroken over it, but we have a job to do and we're going to complete that job," said Fulton County Assistant Police Chief Gary Stiles. "Most of the time you think it's a dream and you'll wake up. We've been mostly they're support mode. His family is just grieving terribly at this time."
OFFICER WAS A PART OF THE COMMUNITY
Fulton County Police Chief Cassandra Jones told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston they lost a bright and shining light with the murder of Green.
Jones said he was an officer who cared about the community and the people in it.
“He didn't have any strangers in the police department. Some officers have more friendly mannerisms than others and he was one of those officers you could call officer friendly because he was just that type of guy,” Jones said.
She told Huddleston
not only did his fellow officers like him, so did many in the community.
"He had a bond with the community to be safe. He was a very good officer. He was a very good patrol officer. He was one of those patrol officers who on a call he might take a while because he's talking to the people."
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"He's always speaking to you and stuff. He would help you if he can. He was real nice," said neighbor Linda Sadler. “Boy that's
Channel 2 Action News crews have been at the scene in south Fulton County where Green lost his life all day.
Officers were visibly upset by Green's death, but also had a job to do. Their police badges are now covered with a band as they mourn
"But it's one that you can't even imagine. It's like losing a child, you just can't imagine, because they're all my children," Jones said.
Green started his career with Fulton County 22
He was highly trained and did not have any sanctions in his police file.
Green grew up in southwest Atlanta and attended Morris Brown College.
He leaves behind four boys, Marquez, Samuel, Isaiah and Emmanuel.
SHOOTER HAD TROUBLED PAST
Channel 2 Action News has been digging into Amanuel Menghesha’s past.
Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant found several police reports that show Menghesha was no stranger to police.
half a dozen police calls had been made to Menghesha’s home since August, with various allegations, including aggravated assault to domestic violence.
"I learned to keep my distance," neighbor Dedrick Lindsey told Diamant.
Several residents in the south Fulton County subdivision where Menghesha lives told Diamant they've been afraid of him for months.
"Cops have been here probably about six times," Lindsey said.
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Diamant searched Fulton County Superior Court records, and found Menghesha was already out of jail on bond and scheduled to be arraigned next week on two counts of aggravated assault, plus terroristic threats and a gun charge.
In a November 2014 police report, Menghesha's then-fiancé told officers Menghesha was "very intoxicated" and "grabbed his juvenile daughter by her neck and began to strangle her." Then later he tried to strangle his fiancé before he "brandished his handgun," saying "he had a bullet for each one of them."
One neighbor who asked not to be identified showed Diamant the holes in her home that were made, she says, by bullets that came from Menghesha's gun.
"This incident has really kind of shaken me up a little," the neighbor said.
Diamant also found records of a September 2014 battery charge against Menghesha that was later dropped, plus a mug shot from a misdemeanor theft case, in which Menghesha pleaded guilty.
Diamant confirmed Mengesha is a U.S. Army veteran. Neighbors say he told them he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A source inside the Department of Veterans Affairs told Diamant that Mengesha had applied for VA benefits, but never scheduled any appointments.
He remains at Grady Memorial Hospital.