NEW: Officer in hospital likely wounded by another officer, state police say
Officers respond to a 911 call without getting a house number, just a description
They went to the back of the home and gunfire broke out, the police chief says
A police officer who was shot in the hip while responding to the wrong Atlanta-area home appears to have been shot by one of his colleagues, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
The incident also left the homeowner wounded, from a gunshot wound, and the homeowner’s dog dead, according to police.
“Early investigation indicates that the injured officer was likely shot (accidentally) by one of the other officers on the scene,” the GBI report says. “The preliminary GBI investigation indicates that the responding officers likely entered a residence unrelated to the initial 911 call although it matched the given dispatched description.”
Though DeKalb County police initially said officers were responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person Monday evening, the GBI said Tuesday that the 911 call reported a “possible burglary in progress.”
But the caller didn’t give an address for the house where the suspicious person was seen, county public safety director Cedric Alexander said. Instead, the caller described it as a tan-and-brick one-story home, the GBI said.
Three officers went to a house that matched that description near the same intersection, Alexander said. According to the GBI, the officers attempted to contact the home’s occupants, to no avail.
They then went to the back of a home where they thought a burglary might be occurring, Alexander said. This was at about 7:35 p.m., roughly a half-hour before sunset.
“Once there at the rear of the residence, they noticed that the screen door was unlocked, and the back door was unlocked,” he said.
Alexander said the officers did identify themselves.
“Shortly after that, within a matter of moments, gunfire took place,” he said. “During this gunfire, a dog was shot and killed inside a residence.”
The GBI’s statement provided additional details: “Upon entry to the residence, the officers encountered a dog. Two officers fired their weapons striking and killing the animal in the kitchen. A male in the home, later determined to be the homeowner, exited a room off the kitchen and was also shot by the responding officers.”
The homeowner, who suffered a leg wound, was treated and released at Atlanta Medical Center. The officer underwent surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and is now in serious but stable condition, the GBI said.
“He lost a lot of blood,” Alexander said.
Alexander could not confirm whether one or multiple officers fired shots and said the incident remains under investigation.
“But we did respond to the wrong resident here tonight. And then these other circumstances unfolded.”
The case was turned over to the GBI to ensure an independent probe.
“When the investigation is complete it will be turned over to the district attorney for any action the district attorney deems appropriate,” the GBI said.
All three of the officers who were at the scene will be placed on administrative leave, Alexander said.
The incident occurred in an in-transition neighborhood about 3 miles south of the bars, restaurants and boutique shops of East Atlanta Village. The area is largely populated with apartment complexes, townhomes and one- and two-story single-family residences.
Residents have long complained of steady crime in the area, and they’re accustomed to seeing police, whether they’re out patrolling or responding to criminal activity.
CNN’s Devon M. Sayers and Lisa Respers-France contributed to this report.