Thursday afternoon update:
A man suspected of shooting a Banks County Sheriff's Office deputy may have held a Commerce woman at gunpoint to force her to drive him from the scene.
Authorities are investigating a kidnapping that occurred within hours of the shooting near Tanger Outlet Center.
"A female resident of Commerce arrived home to find a suspect matching the shooters description inside her residence," according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation news release. "The house is located approximately two miles from where the deputy was shot. The female was forced at gunpoint to drive the suspect to the metro Atlanta area before she was released. The kidnapping victim sustained minor injuries."
The suspect is believed to be in the Atlanta area. Investigators are working to determine the exact time and location of the suspect arriving in the Atlanta area, according to the news release.
The GBI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the identity and capture of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call the GBI Tip-line at 1-800-597-8477, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at 706-367-3784 or the Banks County Sheriff’s Office at 706-677-2248.
The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 30-40 years old. He was last seen wearing dark clothing. He took a burgundy Ingles grocery store pullover shirt during the kidnapping.
Thursday morning update:
The suspect is believed to have fled to the Atlanta area, according to the Banks County Sheriff's Office.
"Reliable information has led us to believe the suspect has fled to the Atlanta area," according to the BCSO. "Law enforcement will continue to pursue the suspect until he is brought to justice."
Wednesday evening update:
Around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, Banks County Sheriff Carlton Speed, Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Mike Ayers and Georgia State Patrol officer Al Whitworth held a press conference on the recent shooting and manhunt at Banks Crossing.
With the sun setting, a multi-agency search continues for the suspect who shot a Banks County Sheriff's Office deputy in the chest following a chase from Banks County to Jackson County.
The suspect reportedly attempted an armed robbery at Atlanta Dragway before fleeing in a stolen vehicle. The deputy struck the suspect's vehicle with his patrol car and the suspect shot at the deputy as he fled on foot. It's not clear how many shots were fired.
The deputy, who has been employed with the BCSO for approximately eight months, was transported to the hospital in "good condition" according to Speed.
The suspect is still on the run after traveling across I-85. The search continues for the man, who may be in Jackson County.
He is considered armed and dangerous. Ayers stressed citizens should not approach the suspect or anyone who they believe could be the suspect. Travelers coming through the area may be stopped to ask for identification.
Anyone with information should immediately call 9-1-1, Ayers added.
The search will continue until the suspect is found.
"We're not in the habit of letting people shoot deputy sheriffs and get away with it," said Ayers.
Tanger closed early and some other businesses and restaurants closed due to the manhunt.
A Banks County Sheriff's Office deputy was shot near Tanger Outlet Center Wednesday afternoon.
Multiple agencies are on scene to search for the suspect who fled after the shooting.
The deputy was shot in the chest, but authorities believe the bulletproof vest prevented any injury. He was transported to the hospital.
The suspect is described as a black man in his 40s with short hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing and is approximately 6' tall and weighs 170 pounds. Authorities believe he is armed with two guns.
"At around 4:12 p.m., Banks County deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery in progress at the Atlanta Dragway," according to a BCSO Facebook post. "While deputies were en route to the scene, the suspect attempted to kidnap the victim, but fled the scene after stealing the victim's vehicle. Our deputies located the vehicle in the area of Tanger Outlet Center where a traffic stop was attempted to which the suspected attempted to flee."
The driver reportedly got out of the vehicle and fired at the deputy in his patrol car.
"While the suspect fled on foot, he continued to shoot towards the deputy's patrol unit," according to the BCSO.
Authorities are set up near the wooded area across the interstate next to the old Pottery building. A helicopter and K-9 units are searching the area.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Public Safety and local agencies have set up a perimeter around the scene. The BCSO, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Braselton Police Department, Commerce Police Department, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Stephens County Sheriff's Office, Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Hall County Sheriff's Office and Habersham County Sheriff's Office are on scene.
Updates will be posted when available.
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