A police officer and the suspect he pulled over are both dead after a traffic stop in a small Georgia city turned violent, authorities said Thursday.
The incident unfolded in Holly Springs, a small rural community about 35 miles north of Atlanta, late Wednesday when officer Joe Burson, 25, pulled over a vehicle for speeding around 11 p.m., the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said during a Thursday news conference.
At some point during the stop, things got violent. Burson opened fire and fatally shot the driver of the vehicle — Ansy Dolce, 29. Dolce drove off and dragged Burson, which ultimately killed him, said GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles.
It’s unclear in what order these events happened or what happened to cause the stop to turn deadly. Authorities are investigating, using footage from the officer’s dash camera and his body camera — which authorities say he was wearing.
Georgia supermarket shooting: Cashier fatally shot after argument over face masks, authorities say
Holly Springs Police Chief Tommy Keheley said other officers responded to the incident and were also wearing body cameras, evidence that will help investigators piece together what occurred. Investigators believe it’s possible Burson opened fire on the suspect as he was being dragged by the vehicle, though it’s still being examined, Keheley said.
“If you had the ability to clone police officers, you would have wanted your officer to be Joe Burson,” Keheley said, calling him a “model officer” who always volunteered to show children in the community his police car. “He has been an asset to this department. He will be greatly missed.”
Burson had been with the department less than two years, Keheley said. It was his first law enforcement job and the department helped guide him through training and certification.
A memorial was erected outside the police department with those in the community leaving flowers.
“It was just a simple stop and the bottom line is, every bit of this could have been avoided,” Keheley said. “This is the worst day of any police chief’s job.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Holly Springs, Georgia officer killed, suspect fatally shot after stop