By Ed Brock
The chase that led to a Georgia State Trooper's death started with a violent robbery in a Clayton County parking lot.
At one point the victims of that robbery were chasing the suspect themselves and ended up dodging bullets.
Trooper Tony Lumley, 36, was fatally injured while attempting to stop a pickup truck being driven by 26-year-old Kenneth Bradley Medlock of Newnan Monday night after the chase had gone into Spalding County. Lumley's car and Medlock's truck made contact while they were on Ga. Highway 16 and both vehicles left the road, Lumley's turning end over end, GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said.
Lumley, who lived in The Rock in Upson County, died Tuesday from the injuries he suffered in the crash. Medlock survived the accident and was taken to Clayton County jail, charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and felony fleeing.
Clayton County police had been chasing Medlock in connection with a robbery that occurred around 9:20 p.m. Monday, Clayton County police Sgt. Brian Busch said.
That was when 21-year-old Jacobe Davis of McDonough was helping a friend sell a car to two other men in the parking lot of the Little Giant grocery store on Upper Riverdale Road. They had just come to an agreement on the sale of a car when a man with a bandanna over his face pulled up in a truck, Davis said.
"He leaped out of the car and had some kind of rifle with a scope and a handgun, a big handgun," Davis said.
The man demanded money from all four men and began beating some of them, including Davis, with the guns.
"He came toward me and hit me in the face with his handgun," Davis said.
After taking money from the victims the man got back into his pickup and drove off.
"I couldn't get his plate so we took off after him," Davis said.
Davis was in his car, his friend was in another and the two other victims were in yet another. Near the intersection of Valley Hill Road Medlock slammed on brakes and turned around, firing at Davis' car.
"It went through the side rear window, like, five inches from my head," Davis said.
Davis then hit a median, blowing two tires and damaging his front-end suspension.
Medlock later fired on another one of the cars pursuing him on Valley Hill, Busch said, and caused that car to go off the road. He then stopped on Fielding Court and took a ladder off his truck before going back onto Valley Hill and on to southbound Tara Boulevard, according to a police report.
When the chase crossed county lines the Clayton County units took secondary positions and let Lumley and officers from other agencies take the lead.
"We had at least two of our vehicles and a supervisor actively participating in the pursuit (at the time of the accident)," Busch said.
The Clayton County report said that a GSP unit performed a "pit" maneuver to stop Medlock's truck. In a pit maneuver the pursuing officer deliberately hits the suspect's vehicle from the side at the rear and turns into the vehicle in an attempt to make the suspect lose control.
While Wright did not confirm that Lumley, a nearly 2-year veteran of the GSP, had performed the pit maneuver the contact between the cars that Wright described was similar to a pit maneuver. Lumley was the only trooper involved in the chase, Wright said.
Medlock was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center after the accident for treatment and was taken to jail upon his release from the hospital.
Davis said that his friend who was selling his car Monday night and the friend's parents went to church with Lumley. Lumley was stationed at the GSP post in Forest Park before being transferred to the post in Griffin, Wright said.