VALDOSTA, Ga., July 8 (UPI) — In the wake of the brazen attack on several police officers in Dallas, authorities in Georgia said Friday they are investigating an attack in which it appears a phony 911 caller ambushed a patrolman when he responded to the suspect’s request for help.
According to investigators, the suspect, Stephen Paul Beck, called the Valdosta Police Department just before 8 a.m. local time Friday to report a vehicle break-in and request an officer’s assistance.
An emergency dispatcher sent Officer Randall Hancock to the caller’s apartment complex to follow up on the report. When Hancock arrived, officials said, he was immediately fired upon.
Officials said the officer was struck three times — at least twice in his protective vest and once in the abdomen — before he returned fire against the gunman. Beck was struck and seriously injured by Hancock’s return fire.
Later Friday, Valdosta police requested assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“The individual was unknown to Officer Hancock at the time of the encounter and it was later determined the individual was Beck, the 911 caller,” the bureau said in a news release.
Hancock was reported in stable condition Friday afternoon, though in intensive care, and Beck was also hospitalized with critical injuries.
Authorities said they are still in the process of trying to locate Beck’s vehicle.
The GBI said a motive for the shooting is not yet clear, but did mention the similarity between the crime and the shootings in Dallas.
“There is no indication of a connection to the police shootings in Dallas,” the GBI stated.