CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A police officer in Clayton County, Georgia was killed and a second wounded during shootings late Tuesday, the police department said.
Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts said early Wednesday that Officer Henry Laxson was one of four people killed in the series of crimes which began around 8:40 p.m. in the unincorporated community of Rex. The suspect is also among the dead, AJC reported.
The police agency received several 911 calls reporting domestic violence on Jervis Court, where a woman was found motionless in a yard and a boy had been shot nearby. Responding officers found themselves under gunfire, department spokeswoman Sgt. Julia Isaac said.
“While trying to locate the juvenile victim and render aid to the female victim, officers received fire from an unknown location,” Isaac said in an emailed statement to the news outlet.
A 12-year-old boy who suffered a gunshot wound to the face led officers to a specific home, Roberts said. As police approached, a male suspect fired at officers before turning and running to the rear of the residence, the chief said.
At the back of the home, the suspect engaged additional officers in a shootout, the chief said.
Sound On: A neighborhood just shared with me ring doorbell video, you can hear the barrage of gun fire that echoed in this Clayton Co neighborhood. Two officers were shot and taken to area hospital. Stay with @wsbtv for the latest pic.twitter.com/l5Rpp2o215
— Ashli Lincoln WSB-TV (@AshliLincoln) December 1, 2021
Laxson was shot during the gun battle, although his location at the house was unclear. He was rushed to Piedmont Henry Hospital but did not survive.
The suspect was also killed in the shootout. Investigators believe the man killed two women early Wednesday, the chief said.
The names of the suspect and victims have not been released.
“These men and women do an honorable job every day, and it’s unfortunate that we have to make these reports time and time again,” Roberts said. “My heart aches for every police officer and their family that goes through these types of things. These things just shouldn’t happen.”
During the exchange of gunfire, Officer Alex Chandler sustained a gunshot wound to the hand, according to police.
The wounded boy is listed in critical condition at a nearby hospital.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed it is handling the officer-involved shooting, and Clayton police are investigating the domestic violence that spurred the double homicide and critical wounding of the child, AJC reported.
In a Facebook post, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill called Laxson one of the county’s “finest” officers.
“Officer Henry Laxson was one of Clayton’s finest and unquestionably our very best. Laxson far exceeded all expectations of what an ideal police officer should be,” Hill wrote. “I will greatly miss your smile young man. Rest easy son, the brotherhood will continue the watch from here”.
Laxson is the third Georgia police officer killed in the line of duty in 2021, according to AJC.
Meanwhile, in nearby Dekalb County law enforcement personnel are looking for a suspect accused of shooting two deputies of the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office while they were serving an arrest warrant, Fox5 Atlanta reported.
The gunfire unfolded at a residence in Lithonia early Wednesday. Both of the deputies injured in the most recent shooting are “reported to be conscious and alert,” the Sheriff’s Office told the news outlet.
Officials have identified the suspect as 38-year-old Edward Allen Gatling. He is described as 5-feet-11-inches tall with a weight of 280 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red jacket. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest, according to DCSO.
“Mr. Gatling, Edward Gatling, I know you are out there, you will be brought to custody, you will be taken in. We will not tolerate this,” DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said.
UPDATE: Sheriff Melody Maddox said the man accused of shooting and injuring two deputies Wednesday morning in Lithonia, Georgia is now dead.
Someone from the community called to report a suspicious individual, which turned out to be Edward Allen Gatling, Fox5 Atlanta reported.
Law enforcement personnel swarmed the area as they pursued the wanted man Wednesday afternoon into wooded terrain near the initial incident.
There was an exchange of gunfire and Gatling, 38, was killed. No deputies were injured during the gun fight.