Augusta, GA – A veteran Richmond County sheriff’s deputy suffered a massive gunshot wound to his neck and is fighting for his life after getting into a shootout with a homeless man on Saturday.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) Chief Deputy Pat Clayton provided details about the fatal officer-involved shooting in a message sent out to RCSO personnel hours after the confrontation, The Augusta Press reported.
The incident occurred in the 1200-block of Ellis Street at approximately 11:23 a.m. on July 8.
RCSO Deputy Kenneth Mercer responded to the scene after receiving a report about a man with a gun who was allegedly yelling at people at that location, according to The Augusta Press.
Investigators said he subsequently made contact with a homeless man and that an exchange of gunfire ensued.
Both the suspect and Deputy Mercer were shot during the gunbattle, The Augusta Press reported.
Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen said the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:46 p.m.
His identity was not immediately released.
Deputy Mercer was rushed to the Augusta University Medical Center (AUMC) Trauma Unit with a massive gunshot wound to his neck, The Augusta Press reported.
“[The bullet] exited in the opposite rear shoulder,” Chief Deputy Clayton said in the memo to RCSO personnel shortly after the shooting. “He is still in surgery which could last for another few hours, but they are doing their best to repair the wounds.”
Chief Deputy Clayton said the doctor broke away partway through the surgery and told them Deputy Mercer was still in critical condition, but that he was “cautiously optimistic” the wounded hero will survive, The Augusta Press reported.
Marty, the girls, and I are asking all Georgians to pray for Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Mercer who was shot in the line of duty today. We join his loved ones and the entire law enforcement community in asking God to keep him stable and on the road to recovery.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 8, 2023
Details regarding what led up to the shooting are unclear.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting, the RCSO said in a press release on Saturday.
Please join us in keeping Deputy Kenneth Mercer and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in your thoughts and prayers. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/vaFTB3I6ip
— Mayor Garnett Johnson (@MayorJohnson85) July 9, 2023
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