The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is looking into a domestic disturbance incident that left a man in critical condition following an officer-involved shooting in Auburn, Georgia, according to CBS 46.
Shortly after 4 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 16, Auburn police officials responded to a domestic disturbance call in the 300 block of Wages Road. When Officer Billy Willis arrived at the scene, an unidentified woman at the home stated that the suspect fled into a wooded area behind the home.
Another responding officer, Sgt. Jeff Scott began searching the area and later encountered the 46-year-old suspect, Stephen Frank Nichols, who initially gave false information and pretended to be a witness to the domestic disturbance incident instead of the suspect Scott was searching for, according to GBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers.
Working an Officer Involved shooting in Auburn. Chx out the Nightbeat at 11 for more info pic.twitter.com/GQuuxAt8jY— Buzz (@timbercam) April 17, 2017
Midmost of the officer and suspect’s conversation, Nichols drew a gun—a.38 caliber revolver—and pointed it at the officer before opening fire, said Ayers.
The Auburn police officer returned fire and struck the man multiple times.
Emergency medical services transported the injured man to Gwinnett Medical Center where he remains as of Monday.
Medical staff says the suspect is in serious condition upon arrival, but Nichols has since been making progress.
No officers were injured during the shooting on Wages Road.
Details about the officer-involved shooting in Auburn are limited.
Investigators say Nichols has two warrants for his arrest; however, he will not be served while at Gwinnett Medical Center.
Shortly after the suspect recovers and he is discharged from the hospital, he will be arrested.
Investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation states that “the victim will be charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.”
The gun Nichols used during the Auburn shooting on Wages Road was recovered by GBI investigators, who said that all rounds had been fired in the gun and they are trying to determine how many times he shot at the officer.
This is not Nichols’ first run in with the law as he has an extensive criminal record, dating back to 1991.
His Jackson and Gwinnett County arrest records show that Nichols has various charges on his record, including DUI, making terroristic threats and acts, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and theft by taking.
When reporters went to the Auburn home on Wages Road in a bid to get a statement from the woman who called 911 about a domestic disturbance, they were unsuccessful as the woman asked them to get off her property.
At this time, investigators do not know the relationship between the woman and Nichols or what transpired between the pair that prompted a 911 domestic disturbance call.
Neighbors were stunned after learning about the shooting, saying the area is quiet, and “other than the rooster down the street, I mean, you don’t hear much out here.”
The neighbor went on to say that he “heard about five or six gunshots go off” on Easter Sunday.
When neighbors later learned that the officers were not injured in the shooting on Wages Road, neighbors were glad and “appreciated everything they do—sometimes this happens and it’s a sad thing. But hopefully the guy [the victim] is okay and everything works out.”
Following the officer-involved shooting in Auburn, crime scene units with Athens and Atlanta GBI launched an independent investigation to ascertain the circumstances leading up to the Wages Road shooting between the officer and a domestic disturbance suspect, which left him in serious condition.
When the investigation into the Auburn shooting is complete, the results will be turned over to the Barrow County District Attorney Brad Smith.
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