By Ed Brock
Clayton County police say one of their officers shot a fleeing suspect after the suspect turned and brandished a handgun.
Voeun Meach, 18, of College Park was shot three times, once in each buttock and once in the left leg, in the incident that occurred around 4 p.m. Thursday, said Clayton County Assistant Police Chief Jeff Turner. Meach's injuries are not expected to be life threatening and he has been charged with aggravated assault against a police officer.
Also, another Clayton County officer was taken to the hospital when she was involved in an accident on the way to the scene.
Just prior to the shooting deputies with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office Cobra Unit were interviewing five males at the Kentucky Fried Chicken at Norman Road and Riverdale Road north of Riverdale. Meach was in that group and ran from the deputies, according to Turner.
A Clayton County police officer, whose name was not released, saw Meach running away and pursued him on foot. The officer and deputies caught up to Meach at a wooded area between the North Clayton Shopping Center and Highland Arms Apartments.
Meach turned brandishing a handgun and ignored orders to drop the gun, according to Turner. The officer then fired at Meach who fell just behind Keith Thompson's apartment.
"We were in the shower when we heard the gunfire," Thompson said. "I thought somebody was hammering."
Meach was taken to Southern Regional Medical Center for treatment. Turner said the officer who shot Meach will be placed on administrative leave as part of routine procedure for officer-involved shootings.
A group of bystanders crowded onto a walkway of the shopping center to watch the police gather evidence.
"I was all the way across the street," said Joyce Brown, a member of the crowd. "I saw the (television news) helicopter and knew something was happening."
Regarding the traffic accident involving another responding officer, Turner said Lt. Debbie Coker was crossing Ga. Highway 85 to go onto Church Street when another vehicle slammed into her. Coker was in a marked vehicle with emergency lights activated and had been using extreme caution to cross the intersection, Turner said.
She was taken to Southern Regional hospital with complaints of injuries.