The man who shot Cobb County Police Officer D. Rogers in the chest at about 1:15 a.m. Friday at Concord Chase Apartments, 300 Hurt Road, remained on the loose Friday evening.
Rogers was protected by a bullet-proof vest and was in good condition recovering at home Friday, Cobb police spokesman Officer Michael Bowman said.
Police say Rogers was patrolling at the complex when he noticed a man standing outside and approached him. The man ran off and Rogers followed on foot.
At some point, police say Rogers was blindsided and shot. Police immediately set up a perimeter and continued to search the 224-unit apartment complex into Friday afternoon, including apartments where nobody was home. The management company provided a master key for police to enter every unit.
The suspect is described as a black man last seen wearing a white T-shirt and khaki pants. He has low-cut hair with braids. If anyone has any information regarding this person or incident they are asked to call 911 immediately
A phone message left at the management office of the apartments was not returned Friday.
Bowman said police are still intensely searching for the suspect but have exhausted all leads in the apartment complex.
Police began zeroing in on the area earlier this month, Bowman said, because they had reason to believe a stolen rifle was in the complex.
“We don’t believe that is related to this incident,” Bowman said.
Brandon Jones has lived in the complex for eight months, but he says after Friday’s events, he’s moving.
Jones said he returned to the apartment complex about 1 a.m. and found his home surrounded by police. He wasn’t allowed inside until about 5 a.m.
He’s never witnessed a violent crime in the area, but he’s still had enough.
“I’ve never seen things like this before,” Jones said. “It’s usually pretty laid back.”
Normally a quiet neighborhood
Neighbors say the incident has them startled in what they describe as a typically quiet neighborhood.
Alicia Mack stood outside the front door of her home across the street from the complex where the shooting took place watching as camouflaged SWAT units entered apartments. She woke early Friday morning to the sound of DeKalb County’s helicopter units flying above using a heat sensor and spotlights to search for the suspect.
With her hand on her 7-year-old nephew’s shoulder, she said the activity is unusual and has her worried.
“I’ve been here for a while but I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mack said. “It’s shocking.”
Barbara Smith, who also lives on Hurt Road near the site of the shooting, echoed her concerns.
“I’m angry because this is a beautiful neighborhood with people that are kind, hardworking and take care of their neighbors,” Smith said.
She woke up at 4 a.m. Friday to find a recorded automated message on her answering machine informing her a policeman had been shot nearby and the suspect was still on the loose. Smith says she appreciated the county using its Code Red Alert, but the shooting has her shaken.
She wants to see police take more action to curb crime in what she considers a problematic area.
“We as a neighborhood have known for decades that drugs are being sold over there (at Concord Chase Apartments),” Smith said. “That’s common knowledge, and the police don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.”
The neighborhood is otherwise calm and quiet, she said.
“It’s all together a horrible place to live next to in an area with homes, children and elderly,” Smith said. “I just hope (the shooting) leads to better action for the neighborhood.”
Several area law enforcement agencies joined the manhunt including the Cobb County Police Department, the Smyrna Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Powder Springs Police Department and Austell Police Department. Dekalb County also lent its helicopter units.
Police asking for tips
With the suspect still at large, Bowman is asking residents to remain cautious.
“We’re asking that the public give us a call if they know anything,” he said, adding the smallest tip could be helpful.
“We’ve got an armed gunman on foot out there,” Bowman said.
Bowman said he wants the shooter to know that he did not kill the police officer.
Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who represents the area where the shooting took place, says it’s a terrible situation but one that can happen anywhere.
“Certainly the desire is for no officer to get shot while on the job and I hope that he continues to recover well,” Cupid said. “It is unfortunate for this to occur and I hope that the officers are able to catch the individual responsible for the shooting.”
This is not the first time Officer Rogers has been involved in a shooting while on duty. But in the first instance, on July 8, 2008, Rogers was on the other end of the shooting. He shot and killed a suspected counterfeiter who was said to have been reaching for a handgun on his waistband, according to police reports. That incident happened at a Texaco station on Cherokee Street in Kennesaw.