Holly Springs, GA – Holly Springs Police Officer Joseph Burson was killed in the line of duty when a suspect dragged him with his vehicle during a traffic stop late on Wednesday.
The incident began at about 11 p.m. on June 16 when Officer Burson and a shift supervisor stopped a vehicle for speeding near Harmony Lake Drive and Hickory Road, NBC News reported.
Officials said Officer Burson was dragged by the suspect’s vehicle but managed to fire a shot at the driver before he was killed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The driver – later identified as 29-year-old Ansy Dolce – was fatally shot and then his vehicle careened off into a ditch.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Spokeswoman Nelly Miles said officers rendered medical aid on the scene to both men, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Officer Burson was transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital where the rookie officer was pronounced dead.
Dolce was taken to Wellstar North Fulton where he was also pronounced dead, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
GBI investigators are reviewing video from the incident, NBC News reported.
Officials said that Officer Burson was wearing his bodycam when he was killed.
“There were a number of officers on scene,” Chief Keheley said. “Most all, if not all, had body cameras. It would depend on the time they arrived as to how much valuable footage there is. And yes, there was car camera footage as well.”
Officer Burson was the first Holly Spring Police Department officer to die in the line of duty.
He was the first officer to be killed in the line of duty in Cherokee County since 2003, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
But the young officer made quite an impression on his fellow officers and the community during his brief time on the police force.
Holly Springs police Chief Tommy Keheley described the 25-year-old Officer Burson as a model officer, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“If you had the ability to clone police officers, you would have wanted your officer to be Joe Burson,” Chief Keheley said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Officer Burson was sworn onto the Holly Springs police force on March 20, 2020, according to a Facebook posted to the department’s official page at the time.
Chief Keheley said the young officer went out of his way to get to know the community, and was frequently seen welcoming children into his police vehicle to play with the lights and ask questions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“He was just a genuinely good individual,” the chief said. “It was a simple stop and the bottom line is, every bit of this could have been avoided.”
Officer Burson was awarded a Chief’s Commendation on April 9 for his performance during a dangerous and difficult traffic stop, according to a post on the department’s official Facebook page.
Earlier today, GBI employees lined up outside of our Crime Lab to view the police escort for Holly Springs Police Department Officer Joe Burson who was killed in the line of duty.
From our family to yours, thank you for your service and may you rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/WGFFsaYqPZ
— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) June 17, 2021
My heart and prayers go out to the police officer killed (unnamed at this point), his family, the Holly Springs, GA community & Holly Springs Police department. Where is the public outrage & protests against killing of law enforcement officers? @HollySpringsPD @BernardKerik pic.twitter.com/d7RFGqikJZ
— Vernon Jones For Governor (@RepVernonJones) June 17, 2021
Praying for the family, coworkers, and community of Holly Springs, GA Police Officer Joe Burson, who was killed last night conducting traffic stop. Rest In Peace.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) June 17, 2021
This morning, our thoughts and prayers are with the Holly Springs Police Department and the family of the fallen officer who gave his life while on duty last night. May we come together to lift our neighbors up in the days to come.
RIP sir. pic.twitter.com/DQ5MzvfBkA
— Woodstock Police, GA (@WoodstockPD) June 17, 2021
OFFICIAL PHOTO RELEASED: The Holly Springs Police Department has released the official photo of slain officer Joe Burson. pic.twitter.com/OmZqVNMMYv
— CBS46 (@cbs46) June 17, 2021
— Haralson Sheriff (@HaralsonSheriff) June 17, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Holly Springs Police Officer Joseph Burson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Joseph Burson, your life mattered.