VALDOSTA, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of a Valdosta police officer who is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds and identified the shooter who was also injured in a Friday morning shootout.
The GBI has identified the shooter as 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck and said he also made the original 911 call requesting the police.
Valdosta Police Officer Randall Hancock was wounded in the shootout in the Three Oaks Apartment complex parking lot.
Hancock was listed as being in stable condition at South Georgia Medical Center late Friday, according to city officials.
Beck was said to be in serious condition at a North Florida hospital.
A news release from the GBI said Beck placed a call to the police reporting someone had broken into his car.
The bureau said its investigation indicates that when Hancock arrived on the scene, Beck opened fire on the officer. Hancock returned fire.
“Hancock arrived at 8:12 … a little over a minute later the officer called out on the radio screaming for assistance saying he had been shot,” Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said during a press conference.
The officer was shot multiple times and was immediately taken to South Georgia Medical Center. Shortly after arriving he was taken to surgery.
“I am happy to report he is going to be fine, he is in stable condition,” Childress said.
Hancock was hit twice in his protective vest and once beneath the vest in the abdomen, according to the GBI statement.
Hancock has been with the department since Jan. 3, 2006 and was commended by the police chief for his professionalism.
The Valdosta Police Department is not handling the investigation.
“We are following the standard protocol and professional protocol … that protocol is any time there is an officer-involved shooting, we call in an independent outside agency,” Childress said.
“We’re hoping we can show the rest of the country, this is how you investigate an officer shooting,” Childress said.
The officer was wearing a body camera, the chief said, and it has been submitted to the GBI for the investigation.
Special Agent Jamy Steinberg also said the investigation is ongoing and agents are looking for a 2009 Nissan Sentra, Georgia tag PVW 814.
“It is important at times like this we encourage peace and calm and that we find strength in our faith,” City Manager Larry Hanson said.
The incident occurred just hours after police officers were shot and killed in Dallas Thursday during a peaceful protest.
“We’re also praying for the men and women of the Dallas Police Department. I think we all ought to focus on those folks too because that was a tragic event,” Childress said.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the other members of the Valdosta Police Department, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, Echols County Sheriff’s Office, Remerton Police Department, Valdosta State University Police Department, South Georgia Medical Center, South Georgia Emergency Medical Services, Moody Air Force Base Leadership, Valdosta Fire Department, Valdosta Police Chaplains, Valdosta Rotary Club, and members of the Valdosta Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Valdosta Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who either responded or called to check on our officer,” Childress said.
“The motive behind the shooting is unknown at this time. There is no indication of a connection to the police shootings in Dallas, Texas,” the GBI said in its prepared statement.
When the GBI concludes its investigation, the investigative file will be turned over to the Southern District Attorney’s office for review.
Michael Praats is a reporter at the Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229) 244-3400 ext. 1257.