A Griffin police officer is recovering at home from a bullet wound to his face after a shootout Wednesday night that also left a suspect with critical injuries.
Griffin police said the officer, Lt. Curtis Keys, was initially was taken by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital. The suspect, Steven Walker, was taken by helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center.
Police said they received a call just after 10 p.m. about a man waving a gun on Circus Street. Officer Colt Tolen responded and was searching for the suspect. When Keys arrived, the suspect came out from behind a tree and shot at the windshield of Keys' patrol car.
"It (the bullet) struck him in the right side of the facial area," Capt. Dwayne Jones told CBS Atlanta News.
Tolen then fired at the suspect, striking him several times, Jones said.
Officers said the suspect had a handgun, a shoulder holster and several rounds of ammunition on him. They had not had any problems with him in the past, police said.
Neighbors said Walker started cleaning out his house on Wednesday and had put some of his belongings beside the street. They said he was acting strangely.
"He had a sheet wrapped around his head, acting crazy. They say he tried to tie up a stick earlier to the tree over there like it was a dog," Sebastian Reeves said.
Police said the incident is a reminder of the dangers of police work, and said Walker threatened their safety and the safety of the community.
"I think there's a good possibility Tolen saved his fellow officer as well as the citizens that were in that area where the shooting took place because when you have a situation like that it's totally unpredictable as to what can happen," Jones said.
Besides the bullet wound, Keys, a 12-year veteran of the Griffin Police Department, also sustained injuries to his eyes from the shattered glass, Jones said.
Walker is charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Additional charges are pending.