AUSTELL, Ga. - The Austell K-9 officer shot while tracking a suspect back in April will need to have his leg removed, the department said on Thursday.
K-9 Jerry Lee was asked to assist in the search for a suspect who was avoiding a driver’s license and safety checkpoint on Chapel Hill Road near the Interstate 20 exit set up by the Douglasville Police Department around 2:07 a.m. on April 18.
Officials said officers began to pursue the vehicle on I-20, but it stopped and the male driver ran eastbound behind the Lowe's, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
K-9 Jerry Lee was able to track the suspect who then exchanged fire with officers, striking the K-9 officer.
K-9 Jerry Lee after surgery (Austell Police Department)
Austell Police K-9 Jerry Lee was shot once in the front leg while tracking the man. The K-9 was rushed to an area veterinary hospital and underwent surgery where it was determined the bullet entered and exited Jerry's left elbow, shattering the bone.
The suspect was later found in the woods near the 6800 block of Douglas Boulevard. Investigators said officers heard a gunshot after approaching the suspect. He was found with a gunshot wound and rushed to the hospital where he later died.
The police department said the original plan for treatment was to have the K-9 put into a molded splint with hopes of the bones fusing together, but this past week, the vet determined Jerry Lee will need to have his leg removed. He will undergo that surgery on Friday.
He should be back home soon after, police said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation.
The name of the suspect has not been released. It was not immediately clear why the suspect was trying to avoid the checkpoint.
The Georgia Police K-9 Foundation is taking donations to offset the cost of the surgery. Donates can be made by clicking here or at:
- PayPal: email@example.com
- Venmo: @gpk9f
- Checks payable to: Georgia Police K9 Foundation, 28 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia 30458
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