COVINGTON - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into an officer-involved shooting at the request of the Newton County Sheriff's Office after a deputy was forced to draw his weapon and fire twice at a fleeing suspect in the Trotters Walk subdivision early Saturday morning.
According to NCSO Sgt. Mark Mitchell, the suspect, Christopher Anthony Lutz, 19, of Dunning Keep, Covington, was not injured and was arrested shortly after the incident. The deputy received minor injuries and will be on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.
As a matter of policy, the GBI was contacted to look into the incident, due to the deputy's use of deadly force, Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, deputies responded to a call of a hit and run on Trotters Walk in the Trotters Walk subdivision off of Brown Bridge Road shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
The complainant told dispatchers that after striking a mailbox or some trees, a suspect driving a white SUV had fled the scene.
Mitchell said that upon arriving at Trotters Walk, a deputy spotted the SUV and pulled in front of it, at which time the driver put the vehicle into reverse and began pulling away from the patrol car. The deputy activated his blue lights and exited the vehicle, yelling for the suspect to stop and get of his car.
"The driver pulled around the patrol vehicle and took off in an effort to get away from the deputy," Mitchell said, "almost striking him and his patrol car."
At the intersection of Trotters Walk and Equestrian Court, the suspect vehicle struck another responding deputy in the rear driver's side, disabling the patrol car, and then headed toward the back of the subdivision, Mitchell said.
"The officer called for help," Mitchell said. "He was shaken up."
The deputy exited his disabled patrol car, and then heard that the suspect had turned around and was coming back in his direction. "In an effort to get the suspect to stop, he yelled at him to stop, but the vehicle did not stop," Mitchell said. "It accelerated down the roadway, toward the deputy."
Mitchell said the deputy fired two rounds from his service weapon in an effort to stop the vehicle, but it continued past him until it was intercepted by two more deputies near the entrance to the subdivision.
The deputies managed to extract the driver from the SUV, but "he wouldn't comply with orders and was subsequently Tased, at which time he was taken into custody," Mitchell said.
He said that Lutz appeared to be under the influence at the time of his arrest, and the GBI investigation into the shooting is continuing.
Lutz was being held Monday at the Newton County Detention Center on charges of drinking under age, obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on an officer, leaving the scene of an accident, criminal damage to property, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, DUI, no seat belt, improper lane usage, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to stop upon striking an unattended vehicle and reckless driving.
Mitchell added that the last officer-involved shooting occurred in 2007.
Colin Stewart can be reached at email@example.com.