By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — A Jonesboro man has died from injuries suffered during a shoot-out with Clayton County sheriff’s deputies, said officials.
Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Crisp said Jalen Lathon Ricks, 19, died Thursday morning at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale.
Clayton County sheriff's deputies returned fire on Ricks, who shot at them after fleeing a traffic stop, said Crisp. The deputy was hit with birdshot and was treated and released Thursday afternoon, he said.
Crisp said Ricks was driving recklessly through a school zone near Jonesboro High School about 8 a.m. Thursday. When a deputy initiated a traffic stop, Ricks fled, said Crisp. The deputy lost Ricks in a neighborhood, he said.
Clayton County Sheriff Assistant Chief Shawn Southerland. said while police searched for the car, a maroon Crown Victoria, a Warwick Drive resident called 911 to report they saw a man jump out of the car with “a long gun and a bag” and that the man ran into the woods at the end of the Warwick Drive cul-de-sac.
Angela Guzman said she flagged down the police when she saw them in her cul-de-sac and showed them the direction Ricks ran.
Guzman, who speaks very little English, had her husband, Miguel Guzman to interpret for her. He said he did not witness the incident.
She said she was looking out of her window when she saw Ricks speeding into the subdivision.
She said Ricks was wearing a light yellow hoodie when he ran into the woods across the street from her home. She added, she saw him pull a long gun from under his shoulder.
“Our officers arrived on the scene and [were] about to go into the woodline when the suspect fired on the officers,” Southerland said.
Crisp said six deputies responded to the scene and Ricks opened fire on them, hitting one. Deputies returned fire and hit him, he said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called in as a matter of routine to investigate the officer-involved shooting, said Crisp. The six deputies are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the GBI investigation, he said.
Crisp said deputies have no idea why Ricks fled the stop.
“We’re still investigating the reason he fled,” said Crisp.
“The suspect has a very limited criminal history,” Southerland added. “We hope the investigation will give us a reason why he did this. Right now we do not have a motive.”
The shooting comes more than a year after Clayton County sheriff's Deputy Rick Daly was killed July 20, 2011, during a felony fugitive traffic stop in Riverdale. Daly, 55, is the first countywide officer in Clayton to die by gunfire in the line of duty. His killer, Johnathan Bun, 18, is serving life without parole.