Murder suspect, K-9 officer dead after chase through Clayton County

The GBI says a chase of a possible murder suspect in Clayton County on Friday ended in a deadly confrontation which claimed the lives of the suspect and a police K9.

This started after Clayton County police officers spotted a vehicle associated with a murder investigation along River Road near Interstate 285 just before noon. The Georgia State Patrol and the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office were called in to assist with the attempted stop.

The GBI says the driver initially pulled over, but as troopers approached the vehicle on foot, the driver sped off. Troopers used a PIT maneuver to stop the vehicle near Flat Shoals Road. The vehicle ended up in the woods.

Law enforcement officials tried to make contact with the driver, but investigators say the man was not cooperative.

Witnesses describe seeing law enforcement try to get the suspect to come out peacefully from the woods. One man says he initially thought it was a traffic stop until he realized it was more.

"He took off from the police officer. I guess the officer tailed him into the woods. From the woods, they called other officers to let him know that’s where he was at," said Delbert Sanders. "Immediately, as I came up, I heard the officer trying to talk to the man, trying to talk him down from whatever, I guess, he was trying to do and then I realized they sent the dog into the woods. A couple minutes after they sent the dog into the woods you started to hear gunfire."

Georgia State Patrol K9 Figo was sent to coax the man out, but the GBI says the man opened fire, striking the dog. Troopers and deputies then opened fire on the suspect, striking him. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Figo suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was flown to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Sandy Springs, but later died.

The name of the suspect has not been released.

West Clayton Elementary School was placed on lockdown during the incident as a precaution and adjusted it dismissal as a result.

The GBI was asked to investigate the shooting. It is the 93rd such case this year the agency has been asked to review.

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