College Park, GA – A College Park police officer who was run over and seriously injured by an SUV on Saturday morning said he didn’t use lethal force to protect himself because he didn’t want to shoot a teenager.
The incident occurred at about 1:30 a.m. on June 5 near Camp Creek Parkway when College Park Police Officer Ivory Morris got a hit from a license-place reader about a stolen Nissan Rogue SUV, WSB reported.
Officer Morris got a hit off another camera shortly thereafter that told him the SUV had moved to the hotel district on Sullivan Road.
The officer spotted the stolen vehicle at the Hilton Garden Inn at Millennium Center, WSB reported.
“He pulled up behind them. The car took off,” College Park Interim Police Chief Tom Kuzniacki said.
Chief Kuzniacki said Officer Morris detained a 15-year-old boy who was headed toward the stolen Nissan Rogue, but the 17-year-old driver fled, WSB reported.
Then the stolen SUV doubled back and stopped close to where Officer Morris was struggling with the boy.
Police said the 15 year old jumped onto the hood of the SUV with Officer Morris hanging onto him and yelled at his friend behind the wheel to drive, WSB reported.
“And he was hollering at the driver, ‘go go go!’” Chief Kuzniacki said.
Police said the 17 year old behind the wheel hit the gas and the 15 year old and Officer Morris were both thrown from the hood of the car to the pavement, WSB reported.
Then they were both run over by the stolen Nissan Rogue.
“He then just accelerated and ran over the officer and the young guy he was holding,” Chief Kuzniacki explained.
He said that Officer Morris sustained a very serious broken leg, WSB reported.
“I thought I was just dreaming. I thought they were going to run me over again,” Officer Morris told his sergeant in a bodycam video from the hospital.
But he said he didn’t want to shoot the kids, WSB reported.
“When I was on top of that car, I had my other hand free to reach for the gun, but I said ‘I don’t want to reach for it, I don’t want to pull it,’” Officer Morris explained.
“Sarge, I was like I don’t want to hurt this kid, I don’t want to take nobody’s kid away,” the wounded officer said from his hospital bed.
Officer Morris underwent surgery on Saturday afternoon and has since been released to recover at home, WSB reported.
“It’s gonna be a pretty long recovery for him,” the police chief said.
Authorities said that the SUV ran over the 15-year-old boy’s stomach and seriously injured him, WSB reported.
Chief Kuzniacki said that the 17-year-old driver and two other teens fled the scene but would likely be arrested before long.
“The young man at the hospital that was injured and got run over already told his parents who the driver was,” the chief told WSB.
The injured teen in custody is facing charges in connection with the incident that included aggravated assault.
Police said investigators believed the group of teenagers may be connected to a recent rash of car thefts in the Atlanta area, WSB reported.
Officer Morris’ supervisor and the police chief both said that the officer would have been justified in using deadly force against the teenagers.