A Georgia State Patrol trooper was shot and the protester who shot him was killed by return fire during a raid at the site of a proposed Atlanta Police Department training facility on Wednesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
Officials said the trooper was shot in his pelvic area and was wearing a bulletproof vest during the incident. He underwent surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and is now stable, according to GSP officials.
GBI Director Mike Register said several agencies raided near the proposed facility site Wednesday morning to clear the area of protesters who have been occupying the property for months. As law enforcement moved in, officers found a man inside a tent in the woods.
The GBI released a photo of the tent where the suspect was found.
Officers gave verbal commands to the man to come out, but he did not comply. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he then shot a Georgia State Patrol Trooper. That’s when officers returned fire in self-defense, according to the GBI.
The shooter died at the scene. Channel 2 Action News is working to confirm the shooter’s identity. The trooper’s identity is not being released due to safety concerns after threats of retaliation from protesters were made on social media.
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On Wednesday morning, a Channel 2 Action News photographer was at the scene where officers swarmed the area with guns drawn and trained in the woods.
The proposed facility would take up an 85-acre plot off Key Road in the largest urban forest in metro Atlanta.
Protesters who say they are defending what they call the “Atlanta Forest” have occupied the land for months in makeshift camps. Protesters have said they opposed the creation of the police training facility, which they call “Cop City.”
Register said building the training center is great for the city, but he supports the right to protest even though he feels protesters have gone over the line several times.
“They’re endangering the community and the citizens in this area,” Register said.
Protesters disagreed with how the GBI described this incident, telling Channel 2′s Tom Jones that the protest was peaceful.
Last month, protestors had to be forcibly removed from trees in the area of the proposed facility. Last year, protesters threw a molotov cocktail at police during an earlier attempt to get them to leave the property.
On Wednesday night, a small group of supporters gathered for a vigil in Little Five Points to remember the person who was killed.
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