Georgia soldier stable after being shot, protester killed near controversial ‘Cop City’ police installation site

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A Georgia State Patrol officer was shot and a protester was killed during a clash near the site of the Atlanta Police Department’s controversial “Cop City” training center on Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Public Safety confirmed.

The shooting took place during a “cleanup operation” at the site around 10 am, Georgia Department of Public Safety Colonel Chris Wright told a news conference at Grady Memorial Hospital.

At some point, Wright says, a protester fired a shot, hitting the officer. The officers fought back, killing the suspect. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Michael Register said a protester opened fire first. It happened while the police were clearing the area in the forest.

“An individual, without warning, shot a Georgia State Patrol officer,” Register said. “Other officers returned fire in self-defense and evacuated the officer to a safe area. The individual who fired at the officers and shot at the officer was killed in the exchange of fire.”

Georgia State Patrol investigates near the site of an alleged shooting on January 18, 2023. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Wright said the injured officer came out of surgery and is in stable condition in intensive care. He was shot in the “pelvic region” and was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Authorities have not released the identity of the officer or the person killed in the incident.

Several law enforcement agencies responded in DeKalb County, where the investigation is taking place.

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Law enforcement outside Grady Hospital in Atlanta. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Record said for people were detained. He called the police response to the protests “complex” and said that some people involved in alleged criminal activity are organized, while others act as individuals.

“They are endangering the community and citizens around this area,” said Register.

In an email to FOX 5 Atlanta, Stop Cop City ATL said it was “unclear” whether the Georgia State Patrol officer was injured by “police fire, a protester, or a police-induced action.”

“Police repeatedly raided protest camps in Weelaunee Forest, chased and detained neighbors walking through the park, and attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets,” the statement said, in part. “During previous raids, police have consistently stepped up violent tactics against protesters (sic) who were sitting in trees or standing in a public park. pointing guns at the park.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to reports of the state trooper’s injury. He took a tough stance against the Cop City protesters.

GEORGIA GOV. RESPONDS TO ‘COP CITY’ PROTESTS

“As our thoughts remain with him and his family, our resolve also remains firm and strong to see criminals brought to justice,” said Kemp.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said officials are supportive of law enforcement.

“The DeKalb County government offers its thoughts and prayers for the speedy recovery of the Georgia State Patrol officer shot today in DeKalb County,” Thurmond said in a statement. “DeKalb County will continue to cooperate and provide support to the multi-jurisdictional task force tasked with maintaining peace and security.”

This story is developing. Come back for more details. If you have additional information, photos or video email newstipsatlanta@fox.com.

What is Cop City?

The southeastern wooded area Atlanta has been the scene of several protests since 2021, when the the city voted to build the facility near the site of Atlanta’s former prison farm after weeks of protests. The training center would include a shooting range, classrooms, a mock village, an emergency vehicle driving course, stables for police horses, and a “burning building” for firefighters to practice firefighting.

Groups opposing law enforcement and the first-aid training center call it an expanding police state threatening the Atlanta forest.

The 85-acre property belongs to the City of Atlanta but is located outside city limits in unincorporated DeKalb County and includes a former state prison farm.

The opponents of the training center were protesting for months building platforms in the surrounding trees and camping on site. They say the $90 million project, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, involves cutting down so many trees that it would be harmful to the environment. They are also opposed to investing so much money in what they call “Police City”, which they say is used to practice “urban warfare”.

PROTESTERS CONDEMN POLICE TACTICS AFTER ARRESTS FOR DOMESTIC TERRORISM NEAR ‘COP CITY’ SITE

Several people were arrested at the scene on charges including domestic terrorism. The last arrests took place in December, when police arrested five people while trying to remove barricades blocking access to the site.

In that case, authorities say firefighters and police were attacked with rocks and incendiary weapons.

Earlier this year, Governor Brian Kemp called the group part of a group of “militant activists who have committed similar acts of domestic terrorism across the country,” saying it would take the “full force on those who try to bring about a radical agenda through violent means.”

Legal support groups for the protesters say they were unarmed and non-violent, arguing that police have been campaigning to attack the movement.


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