By Ed Brock
The chase began with the suspect shooting another man in front of a police officer.
It ended with that same suspect in a shoot-out with another officer with just a few feet and the thin metal walls of their respective vehicles between them. Apart from a graze on the officer, nobody was hit.
Timothy Orlando Wyatt, 29, was arrested when he finally threw his gun out of his wrecked car and put up his hands, Clayton County Assistant Police Chief Jeff Turner said.
But when Turner talked to Wyatt it seemed he still hadn't had enough.
"He said 'Whew, you missed a great one, I'm ready to do it again,'" Turner said.
Around 10 a.m. Thursday a Clayton County police officer responded to a call about a domestic dispute on Havenridge Drive near Riverdale, Turner said. He saw a black Honda parked on the road with a man later identified as Wyatt in the driver's seat, a woman in the passenger seat and another man standing outside the car leaning in the passenger side window to talk to the woman.
After the officer turned on his blue lights the driver of the Honda took out a gun, leaned across the woman's lap and shot the other man twice in the abdomen.
"The driver obviously knew (the officer) was there," Turner said. "That is a definite indicator that this was a dangerous guy."
The shooting victim, whose name was not released by Thursday afternoon, was in surgery at Southern Regional Medical Center Thursday morning, Turner said.
The female passenger, whose name also had not been released by Thursday afternoon, got out of the Honda and the driver took off. With Clayton County and Riverdale officers in pursuit the Honda went down Upper Riverdale Road to Interstate 75, south on Interstate 75 to Mt. Zion Boulevard and then through several back roads at speeds around 60 to 75 mph before entering Forest Parkway.
At first the Honda went east on Forest Parkway toward Ga. Highway 42, then just before the intersection with Highway 42 the Honda made a U-turn and a pursuing Clayton County officer ran into him. It was that officer who exchanged gunshots with Wyatt at close range until another officer arrived and also fired a couple of rounds toward Wyatt, leading to his surrender.
Wyatt was taken to the hospital for observation.
"Obviously he has some kind of mental condition or is high on drugs," Turner said.
At one point as the chase was going down Maddox Road it passed Morrow High School where Mike Johnson was doing some work.
"The guy driving the Honda was laughing and waving his arms when he went past us," Johnson said. "I didn't figure he'd be laughing too long, though."
The chase also passed Mystery Brown's house on Forest Parkway where she was home with her son 2-year-old Cortez Mitchell and daughter 3-year-old Terrish Mitchell. It makes her nervous to think of what would happen if the person who started such a chase had run toward her house.
"I have a playhouse in the back there, he could have hid in there and I wouldn't have known," Brown said.
Turner did not release the current charges against Wyatt but said he was wanted on a warrant for aggravated assault in connection with a shooting in May at Paradise Park.