The Latest: Georgia officer ambush stuns friends of suspect

The Latest on the shooting of a police officer in south Georgia (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Friends and neighbors of a man accused by authorities of ambushing a south Georgia police officer say they’re stunned he would commit such violence.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Stephen Paul Beck of Valdosta called 911 Friday morning to report a car break-in, then shot the responding officer multiple times. Officer Randall Hancock also shot Beck. Both men were hospitalized in stable condition.

Darius Sheffield is a neighbor of Beck’s who says they would talk about sports and movies. He says “it’s shocking to everyone” that Beck has been accused in the shooting.

Taki Zambaras said he ran a long-term treatment facility in Valdosta for people with chemical dependency when Beck came there for help about three years ago. He called Beck “one of the kindest, most gentle people.”


4:20 p.m.

Authorities say a man called 911 in south Georgia to report a break-in, then ambushed and shot the officer who came to investigate. Both men were wounded in the ensuing gunfire, and both are expected to survive.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck called 911, saying his car was broken into Friday morning. Officer Randall Hancock came to investigate, and police say Beck shot at him as soon as he got out of his car.

He was hit twice in his protective vest and once beneath the vest in his abdomen.

The GBI says the motive is unknown, but there is no indication the shooting was connected to the shootings of 12 officers in Dallas on Thursday night. Five of those officers died.


12:40 p.m.

Authorities say a man opened fire on a police officer investigating a report of a damaged vehicle in south Georgia and was wounded when an officer returned fire.

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress says the officer also was wounded, but both men are expected to survive. He says the officer was shot “multiple times” but is going to be fine.

The suspect was not identified. Childress would not discuss a possible motive.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton says one of the shots hit the officer in the abdomen, just below his protective vest. Other shots hit the officer’s vest. Dutton said it’s early in the investigation, but there’s nothing to indicate that the shooting was related to the ambush of police officers in Dallas.

[Source:- Tulsa World]