Police Officer and 2 Women Are Killed in Atlanta Area

A suspect was shot and killed during an “exchange of gunfire” with officers responding to a domestic violence call, the police said. A 12-year-old boy and an officer were also injured,

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A police officer and two women were shot and killed on Tuesday night during a domestic violence episode in the metropolitan Atlanta area, the police said.

A 12-year-old boy, who was shot in the face, was in critical but stable condition, the police said. Another officer was also injured.

The shootings occurred in Clayton County, about 15 miles south of Central Atlanta. The police said in posts on social media that they first received “multiple” calls beginning about 8:40 p.m. One call, according to the posts, said there was a drive-by shooting in the area. A second said a woman was lying motionless in the front yard of a house. A third said a child had been shot at another location.

Officers who responded to the sites came under gunfire from an “unknown location” while trying to assist the boy and one of the women, the authorities said. They also found the other woman dead inside a house, a police spokeswoman said by phone on Wednesday.

The authorities identified the dead officer as Henry Laxson, a field trainee with the local police. Another officer, Alex Chandler, was shot in the hand.

The police did not release further details, saying, “The investigation is ongoing.” They declined to release the names of the other victims until their families had been notified.

Chief Kevin Roberts of the Clayton County Police Department said at an overnight news conference that the boy, though injured, helped officers find the house where the suspect was found armed with a handgun. The suspect then fled to the back of the house, where he was met by tactical units. The police said in a statement that the suspect was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with officers.

The situation was “emotional,” Chief Roberts said. “These men and women do an honorable job every day. It’s unfortunate that we have to make these reports time and time again.”

“My heart aches for every police officer and their family that goes through these type of things,” Chief Roberts added. “These things just shouldn’t happen.”

The shooting followed one in March in the Atlanta area, when a man opened fire in three area massage businesses, killing eight people. The suspect was arrested about 150 miles south of Atlanta and later charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault.

More than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. One in four women and one and 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence and or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, it says.

Georgia was ranked 10th in the nation for its rate of men killing women, according to a 2019 report from the Violence Policy Center. Domestic violence-related deaths in the state totaled 166 in 2019, up 18 from the previous year, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence reported.

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