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Wounded suspect identified by family

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Riverdale police identified a shot-up burglary suspect when the man's family showed up at the hospital.

It's not clear how the unidentified man's family knew he was shot by a police officer at the scene of an alleged shoe store break-in. Riverdale Police Chief Samuel F. Patterson said he thinks two fleeing suspects notified the injured man's next-of-kin.

"We were able to identify him when his relatives showed up," Patterson said. "He's under arrest on a number of charges and he's not going anywhere."

Police declined to identify the 28-year-old man, citing the on-going investigation of the burglary, other similar burglaries, and the officer-involved shooting. The man was shot five times Tuesday morning, while allegedly crashing a station wagon full of stolen shoes into a police car. Police suspect the man was involved in heisting the shoes from Foot Locker.

A large hole was smashed in the back, brick wall of the 6777 Ga. State Highway 85 shoe store, which is about a block and a half from the city police station. Officers were responding to reports of a burglary in progress at the time of the incident. Two men were seen running from the scene and are wanted in connection with the burglary. A third man was allegedly in the front seat of a Ford Escort station wagon, and gunned the car toward the responding policeman, when the officer got out of his vehicle.

The officer has been with the department for about a year and has been in law enforcement for about five years, according to Patterson. He is currently on paid administrative leave, as the department does an internal investigation to see if he followed policy.

Patterson said the internal investigation could be finished by Thursday, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation could be done with their outside investigation in the next few weeks.

"Within a week or ten days, we're supposed to have a written, complete report on the shooting," Patterson said. "It's not really that complex of an investigation."

The 28-year-old who was shot by the officer was reportedly in stable condition, the day after the shooting, and he is expected to recover from his wounds.

"He went through surgery yesterday, and he was stable," the police chief said. "They almost had to tie him down. He acted like he wanted to get up."

The man is under arrest on charges of burglary and aggravated assault. Police said he may be facing other charges, as well. Investigators are attempting to connect the brick-smashing burglary with other, similarly styled burglaries, which occurred in the city last year.

"We're following up on a number of leads," Patterson said. "We think the car may be a key piece of evidence."