FOX 5 Atlanta
MARIETTA, Ga. – Two Cobb County sheriff’s deputies were killed in the line of duty Thursday evening. The sheriff’s office says they were shot while serving a warrant on a Marietta-area home.
Two people were taken into custody after a nearly four-hour standoff.
Cobb County deputies ‘ambushed and killed’ serving warrant
Just after 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Cobb County deputies knocked on the door at a home on the corner of Hampton Glen Court and Fenwick Drive just west of Marietta.
“From my understanding, the deputies had made an attempt at the home, knocked on the door, rang the doorbell, (and) no one came to the house,” said Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens. “As they were getting back to their car the vehicle drove up, and they assumed it was the suspect who lived there, and, as they got back to the car – as he got into his car, shots were fired.”
It was around 7:48 p.m. when dispatchers first received a report something was wrong. The sheriff says the deputies were able to radio in the shooting to dispatchers.
“We have an officer down,” a dispatcher broadcasted over the radio. It was quickly followed by a series of acknowledgments from law enforcement officers who were rushing to the scene.
Minutes later, firefighters and medics were dispatched as law enforcement began to arrive at the scene.
“Shooter is still inside. We don’t have any information on the perimeter yet,” the dispatcher could be heard saying.
Sheriff Owens says it wasn’t immediately clear if both were in the vehicle or if one of the suspects was already inside the home, but what he did know was the manner in which his deputies were killed.
“My two deputies were ambushed and killed,” said Sheriff Owens.
Around 8 p.m., FOX 5 viewers reported seeing two ambulances escorted by a long line of police cruisers, headed to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.
Deputies and officers from multiple agencies gathered outside waiting for any word on the injured deputies’ conditions.
The grim news broke just before 9 p.m. that both deputies had been pronounced deceased from their injuries.
Their names have not been released.
Hampton Glen neighborhood locked down during standoff
Daymon Gunter, who lives in the Hampton Glen subdivision, says his wife was at home when the shooting happened, but she didn’t think much of it at first.
“She heard what she thought was fireworks which is not uncommon for our neighborhood, especially during the summertime and really didn’t pay any attention to it until her girlfriend called and said, ‘Hey, you guys OK?’ Then she started to look outside and that’s when she noticed everything,” said Gunter.
Gunter was met by an army of law enforcement officers that lined Irwin and John Ward roads at the roundabout just southeast of Cheatham Hill Elementary School. All traffic in the immediate area was being turned around or rerouted.
“The last thing I expect this evening. I expected to come home from work and take a shower and get ready for work tomorrow,” he said.
One officer told Gunter it might not be until sunrise when he would be allowed into his own neighborhood. Meanwhile, inside the couple’s home, his wife described the surreal situation.
“It’s like a movie. She’s like it’s like sitting and watching a movie. Instead of the television, it’s out the window,” Gunter said relaying what his wife explained.
He told his wife to make sure she was in the opposite end of their home, away from the action.
Cobb County standoff ends ‘peacefully’
The sheriff’s office says the SWAT and FAST teams were deployed to the home after the suspects barricaded themselves inside the home.
Around 11 p.m., residents say they heard commotion coming from the home. They heard orders from deputies for the suspects to surrender.
Some reported seeing smoke coming from the home.
The sheriff says the suspects eventually “came out peacefully.”
“Nothing I’ve been told up to this point led me to believe that there were any infractions or altercations with them during the arresting period,” the sheriff said.
The roads leading to the subdivision reopened around 1 a.m. Friday and a portion of the subdivision was cleared a half hour later. Investigators still surrounded the intersection where the shooting took place with crime scene stretching for at least a block.
What is known about the suspects in the shooting death of two Cobb County deputies?
The two suspects were taken into custody by the Cobb County Police Department, who will be leading the investigation.
They were taken to the police headquarters for questioning.
The sheriff could not say if the suspects lived at the home. He also did not release their names or ages.
What is known is at least one of them was wanted for failure to appear on a theft by deception charge.
The sheriff says this type of violence never needed to have happened.
“We need to do something about these guns on the street so whatever we can do to prevent gun violence as you can see is affecting us here in Cobb and is affecting everyone across the entire United States of America,” he said. “We definitely need to do something regarding that.”
Who were the two deputies killed in Cobb County?
Sheriff Owens, during an early morning press conference Friday, began by asking for a moment of silence.
“It is a sad night, this evening, for the citizens of Cobb County and for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office and for law enforcement at home,” the sheriff said. “Even more so, it is a night of heartache for two families from the Cobb Sheriff’s Office, two wives who have lost their amazing husbands.”
While the sheriff did not release the names of the deputies, he called them “two young bright deputies” who served with “dignity and honor.”
The deputies are the first two law enforcement officers killed this year in Georgia by gunfire and the first deaths in the line of duty since the sheriff took office 18 months ago.
The sheriff says both deputies have been with the sheriff’s office for substantially more than five years.
Outpouring of support following deadly shooting of deputies
Sheriff Owens was flanked early Friday morning by almost a dozen different agencies that reached out to his office.
“Our hearts are definitely broken here in Cobb County. It’s gonna take some prayers to help us get back to where we need to be,” the sheriff said. “And because of the people you see behind me today, I think we’re going to be able to overcome that, but it’s not going to be an easy road.”
The sheriff listed off the chiefs of police and sheriffs in metro Atlanta which extended offers of support and assistance.
“What words can you say when you lose a family member,” the sheriff said. “And those words don’t come easy. But just speaking straight from the heart just pray for us because we need it.”
“Our condolences go out to Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office after the loss of two deputies tonight in the line of duty,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted. It was a sentiment echoed on social media by many other law enforcement agencies in Georgia after receiving the news.
The sheriff said his agency had received calls from all over the state including the governor’s office.
“Again, it is a very difficult time for us, but I think when one agency loses someone, we all lose someone,” the sheriff said. “And I think every sheriff and every chief can attest to that when this tragedy hurts our community it hurts their community as well.”
The sheriff says they are working to provide comfort to the families of the deputies.