SANDY SPRINGS — New body camera video shows the harrowing moments Sandy Springs police confronted a home invasion suspect who would later go on to stab an officer six times.
The suspect, Matthew Lanz, would later be arrested on charges that he murdered the couple who lived next door to his Acworth home days earlier.
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Police say Lanz, 22, shot and killed Cherokee County firefighter Justin Hicks and his wife Amber at their home on Nov. 18, 2021. Lanz’s home shared a backyard fence with the couple, who had a 2-year-old son that was left unharmed.
Two days later, Lanz broke into a Sandy Springs home and confronted a woman and her son who lived there.
New body camera video obtained by Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne shows the moments police arrived at the home and tried to negotiate with Lanz and coax him down the stairs.
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“Hey, come on down, man, come on down,” officers tell Lanz on the video. “Come down right now. We’ll go next door with you if you want.
At some point during the negotiation attempts, Lanz pulled a long hunting knife that officers didn’t see initially. When they tried to take him into custody, he started stabbing one officer, who has asked not to be identified.
“One of the wounds the officer received was directly in the back of his neck and it barely missed his brain stem at the base of his skull,” Sandy Springs Major Benjie Cain told Winne. “One of the additional wounds was in the side of the neck, which was within millimeters of his carotid artery, his jugular vein if you will. In that area. It was a very large knife. The wounds were extensive.”
Cain said that even after the attack, capturing Lanz wasn’t easy. He was Tasered, which didn’t stop him, then hit with pepper balls. Police eventually shot him.
“It took four officers as the struggle ensued inside the house and even out on to the lawn,” Cain said.
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Cain said that at the time, officers had no way of knowing that Lanz would later be accused of killing the Hicks family.
“Regardless of your level of experience, the most dangerous call that our officers will ever respond to is the next one that they’re dispatched to,” Cain said. “Because you never know regardless of the circumstances of the call what it may ultimately lead to.”
Cain said the gravity of the attack on his officer hit everyone in the department hard.
“I don’t care how long you’ve been on the job. It makes everything that we do extremely real,” Cain said. “The officers routinely put themselves in danger for the public, for each other. But when you get a situation like this, it affects us all.”
Cain said the officer who was stabbed is back at work now. He said he can’t thank the staff at the Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency room enough for saving his colleague.
Prominent defense attorney Jimmy Berry is one of the lawyers representing Matthew Lanz in both the stabbing and the murders. He said the defense is still gathering the facts in both cases.
Lanz’s brother, Austin Lanz, killed a Pentagon police officer before being shot and killed by police in August 2021.
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