ATLANTA – Two police officers responding to reports of gunfire in one of Atlanta’s busiest shopping districts were ambushed on Wednesday, leaving one with gunshot wounds, the city mayor said .
A passer-by reported hearing a deluge of gunfire and said he later saw an officer bleeding profusely and rushed from the scene on Peachtree Street, a main thoroughfare in bustling Midtown.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told a press conference the two officers responded to a report of gunfire fired nearby moments before one was shot dead in a building where they went to investigate.
“These officers were ambushed,” the mayor said, adding that “even with one of the officers hit, they reacted quickly”.
Atlanta Police Officer CJ Johnson said law enforcement asked the public to avoid part of Peachtree Street where a heavy presence of police officers and vehicles was observed after the shooting.
Patrick Walker, who works as a janitor for the building, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he heard a flood of gunfire.
Walker was at the hotel reception when he heard the gunshots and saw the police coming through the doors. Employees and others in the lobby tried to find security, he said.
Walker then saw an officer carry his arms and legs “so bleeding,” he told the newspaper.
Authorities did not immediately identify the officer or disclose further details about the officer’s condition or what sparked the shooting.
Filming took place in a major part of town about a block north of the Fox Theater and the Georgian Terrace Hotel, where the cast members of “Gone with the Wind” stayed when the film. premiered in Atlanta.
A video from local television stations showed a large number of police officers and police cars outside an apartment building afterwards.
Later Wednesday Georgia Governor Brian Kemp wrote on Twitter that he and his family “join all Georgians in praying for the Atlanta police officer who was shot dead in the line of duty today.”
“Georgia stands with the brave men and women who protect us every day,” Kemp added.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating the shooting at the request of the Atlanta Police Department. No further details were immediately released.
Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia.