Statesboro police are looking for a man considered armed and dangerous after he reportedly fired two shots at a police officer and two more shots into the air while fleeing from the officer during the night hours early Sunday.
Investigating a drug complaint in the area of Institute Street and Rackley Street about 2:20 a.m., a Statesboro Police Department officer observed “a suspicious subject” and stepped out of a police vehicle to talk to him, according to the SPD’s news release.
The suspect immediately turned and ran into the woods and down a railroad track. When the officer began to chase him on foot, the man turned and fired two shots from a handgun at the officer. Then the suspect fired two additional shots into the air as he continued to flee, the report states.
Police described the suspect as a thinly built black man wearing light-colored pants, a green shirt and a green hat and having gold caps on his front teeth.
“Our officer did not shoot back,” states the SPD’s media release, issued Tuesday morning.
It states that a perimeter was quickly established and a full search conducted of the wooded area and along the tracks.
A tracking dog and members of the local SWAT team were dispatched to the scene. The police media release states that the suspect appeared to have reached a parking lot along South Main Street and to have left in a vehicle of unknown description.
Anyone who can help identify this suspect is asked to contact Sgt. Jake Saxon through the SPD s switchboard at (912) 764-9911.
“We’re hoping that the public will step up and help us because somebody knows this guy, he’s identifiable enough to be hanging out in this area, and so we just need their help to get him off the street,” said Police Chief Mike Broadhead.
Without identifying the officer who was shot at, Broadhead commended him for not shooting back in this particular situation.
“I’m really proud of the officer for showing restraint,” Broadhead said. “One of the things we teach our officers is the Universal Safety Rules for Firearms, which Number 4 is ‘Be sure of your target and beyond.’”
When interviewed by a detective, the officer reportedly said that, given the darkness and the distance, he decided not to shoot back because he didn’t think he had a high likelihood of hitting the suspect and did not know where his bullet would go beyond him.
“That’s exactly what we want,” Broadhead said. “We want our officers showing restraint when it’s appropriate, and he made a decision based upon his training and good judgment.”