It happened around 1:15 p.m. in the 2600 block of Old Hapeville Road. Atlanta police said the officer was working to bring 22-year-old Christian Eppinger into custody when there was a scuffle that led to gunfire.
The officer was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital in serious condition. While the officer is expected to survive, police said it will be a long road to recovery.
Officers identified the suspect and attempted to make an arrest.
Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said the officer and 22-year-old Christian Eppinger got into a brief scuffle during the attempted arrest. At some point, the major said Eppinger pulled out a handgun and shot the officer "multiple times."
"This individual was armed and this individual was looking to cause harm at the appropriate time. It happened to be an Atlanta police officer that was able to intervene before he was able to rob anybody else before he was able to assault anyone else," Schierbaum said.
The deputy chief said one group of officers worked to stabilize the officer while another went after Eppinger who at that point was considered an "imminent threat" to the neighborhood.
Police said the suspect was apprehended after trying to find shelter nearby. Police said there were no further injuries.
The officer's name has not been released.
Christian Eppinger (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)
Who is the suspect, Christian Eppinger?
Not much is yet known about 22-year-old Christian Eppinger or the crime for which was originally accused.
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum called the suspect, later identified by investigators as Eppinger, a known gang member and said he was wanted in connection to an armed robbery along Cleveland Avenue in October 2021.
According to the police report, he held a man at gunpoint and made off with valuable items such as a Rolex watch.
Police did not immediately release details about specific additional charges for Eppinger other than he "will face a series of felony charges."
Eppinger was booked into the Fulton County jail.
Police investigate near a SW Atlanta apartment complex after a report of an officer shot. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
Combating violent crimes in Atlanta
Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said the department will not be deterred by such violence against their officers. He said the department understands the undertaking they have been tasked with to bring down violent crime in the city.
The deputy chief would not release specifics about Monday's operation that led to one of their own being shot. He said those details would come out at the appropriate time.
"What happened today is the challenge that we are against here in Atlanta and cities across this country where individuals are heavily armed, heavy proliferation of guns, and are loose in our communities and causing harm our police officers, who are being assaulted at record numbers across the country and placing communities and imminent harm," said Schierbaum. "This department will not be detoured."
Police investigate near a SW Atlanta apartment complex after a report of an officer shot. Police K9s and SWAT officers were at the scene. (FOX 5 Atlanta)
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens went to the hospital, police said.
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