A shooting inside a Henry County dentist’s office early Thursday left a police officer critically injured and the alleged gunman dead.
The officer was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital in critical condition, police spokesman Capt. Joey Smith told AJC.com. The officer, who was not identified, is a 10-year veteran on the force who works the day shift.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is on the scene of the shooting in the 300 block of Jonesboro Road. The alleged shooter entered Smile Creators Family & Cosmetic dentistry just after 8 a.m. and caused some type of disruption, Smith said.
“I don’t know if it was work-related, I don’t know if he was a customer... something was unusual about this gentleman that scared them enough that they called police,” he said.
It is not yet known if the man was armed with his own gun. It is possible the officer was shot with his service weapon before officers returned fire, Smith said.
“It is very early on,” he said. There may have been a struggle with the officer’s weapon.”
The officer is not being identified until family is notified about the shooting. Smith said his officers worked the call just like any other.
“It’s just part of the job,” he said. “Officers are handling it, the first responders are handling it, just like any other case.”
Henry County authorities are asking drivers to avoid the area of Jonesboro Road and Wesley Lakes Boulevard near McDonough.
“The scene has been secured,” police said on Facebook. “There is no elevated risk to the public’s safety at this time.
This is the second shooting involving a Henry County police officer and a dentist’s office. In 2016, a man was fatally shot behind a Hampton dentist’s office after confronting his ex-wife, who worked there. The officer was not injured.
The Thursday morning incident is the 84th officer-involved shooting in Georgia this year, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. In 2017, there were 88 officer-involved shootings.
Check back for updates to this developing story.