• Man killed in gunfire exchange with deputies at Spalding park, officials say

    By: Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. - Deputies fatally shot a man who they said held up a gun and fired at them in a Spalding County park. 

    The GBI was called to investigate the shooting, which happened just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, the Spalding County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Deputies arrived at Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park on a report of a suicidal man with a gun sitting in a car there, according to the sheriff's office.

    The deputies cleared the parking lot and walked up to the man's vehicle to speak with him. The man then raised the handgun and fired a shot, officials said. 

    The deputies retreated and returned fire at the man. 

    The Spalding County coroner pronounced the man dead at the scene. 

    Sheriff Darrell Dix said the circumstances forced the deputies to "make a split-second decision, contain the incident, and protect the people in the park and themselves."

    "We always want to make the attempt to de-escalate these situations, however in incidents such as what these Deputies faced last night, the suspect did not allow that to happen," he said. 

    The names of the deputies involved and the name of the dead man will be released later by the GBI, according to the sheriff's office.

    So far this year, the agency has opened 51 officer-involved shooting investigations. The Spalding County incident is the second such investigation this week.

    According to the GBI, Walker County deputies exchanged gunfire with a man Sunday night after responding to a domestic call at a home on Claire Street in Rossville, which is located just south of the Georgia-Tennessee line.

    Sgt. Thomas Agredano was treated and released from the hospital, but the suspect, identified by the GBI as 47-year-old Travis Thomas of Chickamauga, was in critical condition Monday morning, officials said.

    In 2018, the GBI investigated 95 officer-involved shootings, including 53 fatal incidents. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally.

    Next Up: