Community mourns slain suburban Atlanta officer

Maj. Greg Barney, a 25-year veteran, died following surgery

Duty Death: Greg Barney - [Riverside, Georgia]

End of Service: 02/11/2016

Associated Press

RIVERDALE, Ga. — A suburban Atlanta police department is mourning the death of one of its officers, gunned down as he helped other officers serve a 'no knock' warrant in a drug case.

Maj. Greg Barney, a 25-year veteran, died following surgery Thursday, Riverdale Police Chief Todd Spivey said.

Barney was shot while helping Clayton officers serve a search warrant at an apartment complex in Riverdale, south of Atlanta's airport, Clayton County Police Chief Michael Register said. The suspect ran out a back door, Register said.

"He ran approximately 100 to 200 feet ... and we had officers from Riverdale on the perimeter," Register told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He added that was where the suspect confronted Barney.

Barney was shot once in the torso and once in an arm, Riverdale City Manager E. Scott Wood said.

The suspect then ran toward the front of the apartment complex, where he was shot by a Clayton County police officer, according to Register.

The suspect, who wasn't identified, was wounded but authorities didn't elaborate on the extent of the injuries. The suspect is expected to recover, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton told The Associated Press on Friday.

Barney's body was taken to the GBI headquarters, where an autopsy was planned. The GBI planned to release more information later Friday, Dutton added.

A wreath was left outside the Riverdale police headquarters. WSB-TV showed images of two candles glowing outside the police department's entrance. At a nearby church, Frances Lee said a message was being put on the sign: "Our prayers are with the Barney family."

Barney was well-known in Riverdale, a city of about 15,000 people just south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Residents say he left a strong impression on residents as an officer, a police department commander and as a school resource officer.

"Because of his charismatic personality, Major Barney was an iconic figure in the City of Riverdale," Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said in a statement. "Anyone who ever lived or worked in the Riverdale knew him, and his name was synonymous with the city."

In 2004, Barney became the first African-American to serve as Riverdale's police chief when he accepted the interim position after the retirement of its chief. He served as interim chief for five months, the Atlanta newspaper reported.

Residents remembered Barney and mourned his death.

Akeem Bivins said he first me Barney at Riverdale High School, when he was a student and Barney was the school resource officer. Barney often spoke to him about staying on the right path, he told WXIA-TV.

"He had a positive vibe," Bivens said. "He made me want to do right, he made me want to make my mom proud of me."

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press


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