MCDONOUGH, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A Henry County Police officer was fighting for his life late Thursday night after being shot that morning at a dentist office. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the shooting also left one man dead.
GBI spokesperson Natalie Ammons said the staff of Smile Creators located in the 300 block of Jonesboro Road near McDonough called 911 around 8 a.m. Thursday to report a man causing a disturbance in the lobby. Officer Michael Smith was first to respond to the call and met up with the man, later identified by investigations as 53-year-old Dimaggio McNelly, of McDonough.
“They did not know who he was. They were unfamiliar with him, so it is unclear why he was at this business,” said Ammons.
The GBI said while Officer Smith was trying to the man, McNelly became combative, lunging at the 32-year-old officer. Investigators said Officer Smith tried to use his Taser more than once but it didn’t stop McNelly. In the struggle, one shot was fired from the officer’s gun. The GBI said the bullet struck Smith in the face and ended up killing McNelly.
“With that one shot both the Officer and the subject were struck,” said Ammons.
Medics rushed Officer Smith, who has been with Henry County Police Department since 2011, to Grady Memorial Hospital where he remained in critical condition as of late Thursday evening.
The GBI, which has taken over the officer involved shooting investigation, said no weapon was found on McNelly.
“The autopsy and additional forensic examinations will hopefully show exactly what it was that occurred,” said Ammons.
A number of law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene shortly after the shooting and the support has not stopped.
Throughout the day Thursday, members of law enforcement from Henry County, Cobb County, Atlanta, and the Georgia State Patrol, had been stopping by Grady Memorial Hospital along with apparent family members with well wishes and prayers for Officer Smith.
“Something like this, it happens, it kind of brings us all together you know because we see it all over the United States,” said Deputy Dan Aquino, of Muskogee County.
Deputy Aquino who was at the hospital on a different matter had words or support as well.
“Prayers for the officer, prayers for his family. I hope he gets better you know. It’s kind of sad that it has to happen that way,” said Deputy Aquino.
Ammons told reporters during a news conference Thursday afternoon someone at the dental office did record the incident on a cell phone which should help clarify what happened.