The Henry County Police Department is asking the public for prayers and donations for a police officer, recovering at Grady Memorial Hospital after a single bullet from his weapon killed a suspect and hit his face Dec. 6.
”I want to thank the public and all of the public safety departments from across the state for their prayers and support for officer Michael Smith,” Police Chief Mark Amerman said in a statement Dec. 7. “Today Mike was showing signs of improvement. He has a very strong supportive family both at home and at work. The next 24 hours are very critical for him. Please continue to pray for officer Smith and his family.”
Smith, 32, was in critical but stable condition, the department posted to its Facebook page Dec. 10.
On Dec. 11, Amerman visited Smith at the hospital.
According to a media release, Smith continues to improve.
“Michael’s wife Erin, 3-year-old son and family are grateful for the prayers and support during this time,” the release stated.
The department set up a fund to help in Smith’s care.
Donors can give at the Southern Credit Union, 2097 Hwy. 20 West in McDonough or at any of its branches in Hampton, Jonesboro, LaGrange, Griffin, Newnan, Peachtree City or Fayetteville.
For location addresses, visit http://bit.ly/2Uwdg10.
Checks can also be given at the police department headquarters at 108 S. Zack Hinton Pkwy. in McDonough or by mail to Attn: Officer Smith Fund, P.O. Box 1509, Fayetteville, Ga. 30214.
In addition, a Go Fund Me account links to the credit union fund and is active at http://bit.ly/2E7AC74.
All funds will go directly to Smith’s wife and children, the fund’s page stated.
Within four days, 190 donors had given $12,645 toward its $20,000 goal.
“The Henry County Police Department appreciates your prayers and support while officer Smith continues his fight,” the page stated.
Smith was injured in the line of duty during an incident at 378 Jonesboro Road in McDonough, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The address is the location of dentist’s office Smile Creators.
The department asked the bureau to investigate the officer involved shooting on the morning of Dec. 6.
“Preliminary information indicates employees of the business called 911 at approximately 8:07 a.m. to report a man making a disturbance at the location,” bureau spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said in a statement.
She said Smith arrived on the scene and made contact with the subject, identified as Dimaggio McNelly, 53, of McDonough.
After Smith spoke to McNelly, the subject “became combative” and the officer deployed his Taser on him more than once, Ammons said.
“The Taser was ineffective,” she said. “McNelly lunged at the officer and a struggle ensued. At some point during the struggle, one shot was fired, striking both McNelly and the officer.”
McNelly was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ammons said he was transported to the GBI for an autopsy, scheduled for Dec. 7.
She said emergency workers took Smith to Grady where he was listed in critical condition.
Smith has been with the department since 2011, Ammons said.
She said the GBI will continue its independent investigation.
Once complete, it will be turned over to the Henry County district attorney’s office for review.