A protester was shot dead Wednesday morning after he allegedly opened fire at officers and hit a Georgia state trooper near Atlanta’s controversial “Cop City” training facility, officials said Monday.
Few details about the shooting have been released publicly. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the slain protester was a man in an afternoon press conference, but declined to released his name.
The shot officer was rushed into surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta, with authorities briefly shutting down Interstate 20 to halt traffic near the trauma center, reported Channel 2 Action News.
Officials said the officer was shot in the abdomen but his injuries are not life-threatening. Officials said he was in stable condition at the hospital's intensive care unit on Wednesday afternoon.
It’s still unclear what led up to the shooting around 9 a.m., but sources confirmed to Channel 2 that the shooting stemmed from a protest.
Mike Register, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said four other protesters were arrested Wednesday. Their names and the charges they face were not released.
Heated demonstrations have regularly occurred near the construction site for the facility, which supposedly cost $90 million and will include state-of-the-art explosive testing areas, firing ranges, and a mock city.
Critics say it’s a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, while others have campaigned to save the forest where the facility is being constructed.
Just last month, cops said they pepper sprayed protesters who allegedly refused to move from trees near the facility, which is slated to open sometime this year.
Register said Wednesday that cops are “dealing not with protesters but with criminals.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who has previously labeled protesters at the site as being domestic terrorists, said Wednesday that his prayers were with the injured trooper.
“As our thoughts remain with him and his family, our resolve also remains steadfast and strong to see criminals brought to justice,” Kemp wrote in a tweet.
A local activist publication, the Atlanta Community Press Collective, issued a news release about the incident accusing “the government” of “escalating this situation pointlessly.” The release announced that a vigil for the killed protester was scheduled for Wednesday night.
“No one can bring our friend back to us,” the release said. “An innocent life has been taken and the machines continue.”