Union City, GA – A Union City police officer won a gunfight after he was shot multiple times on Monday evening while responding to a call for a fight on Highpoint Road.
Authorities said that Union City Police Officer Jerome Turner, Jr. responded to the call on April 1 for a fight at a home in the 6200-block of Highpoint Road, near the border of City of South Fulton and Union City, WXIA reported.
Officer Turner was interviewing people in the area when one of the men he tried to talk to took off running.
The officer notified dispatch that a suspect had fled and that he was in pursuit on foot, according to WXIA.
He also advised dispatch that the suspect had a weapon.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which is the agency investigating the officer-involved shooting, said Officer Turner told them he was pursuing the suspect when the suspect turned around and began shooting at him, WXIA reported.
Officer Turner returned fire, and 19-year-old Veltavious Griggs was fatally shot.
Backup officers who arrived on the scene found both Officer Turner and the suspect on the ground, according to WXIA.
Griggs was pronounced dead at the scene and Officer Turner was transported to Grady Hospital.
Officer Turner had been shot multiple times and was taken into an emergency surgery that lasted for six hours, WXIA reported.
Union City Mayor William Oxford said the officer had survived the first surgery and was scheduled to go back into surgery, but that doctors said his condition was stable.
Oxford told WXIA that Officer Turner was only alive because of his ballistic vest.
The mayor told reporters they were “incredibly thankful for bullet proof vests this morning because the officer got shot directly in the chest and it didn’t penetrate.”
Tiffany Brown told WXIA that she got a call from her daughter, shortly after the shooting, telling her that she needed to come home right away.
“When I made it here, from my understanding somebody was shot in front of my house,” Brown said.
She said that Griggs was the father of her daughter’s baby, and her daughter was eight months pregnant.
Brown said her daughter had been out picking up wings for dinner when the incident occurred.
After her daughter saw the shooting scene, she went into early labor and had to be transported to Emory Hospital, WXIA reported.
“It’s just crazy,” the mother said. “It’s real scary. It is close to home. It’s at my home. And for someone to be shot and killed in front of my house? …for my daughter’s [baby’s] father to be shot in my front yard. It’s crazy.”
She complained that her son, who was home at the time of the shooting, had been put in the back of a police car while officers investigated, and that none of them were allowed to return to their home for an extended period, according to WXIA.
Shortly after she arrived at the scene, Brown complained that police weren’t telling her anything about what happened.
“I’m trying to see was it the police shooting or was somebody shooting first in order for them to shoot – I need to know what happened,” she said. “Police didn’t tell me anything.”
Griggs’ mother, Shantrina Griggs, told WXIA her son was a rapper known as “T Money” who was turning his life around.
His mother said her son had recently been signed by a rap record label, WAGA reported.
“He started going to the studio, started doing good by me, telling me ‘Mama, I’m not bad no more,'” she said.