Police: Ga. officer killed after being dragged by car in traffic stop

Officer Joe Burson shot and killed the suspect as he was being dragged, investigators believe

Duty Death: Joe Burson - [Holly Springs, Georgia]

End of Service: 06/16/2021


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation clarified Thursday that the officer was not shot, as was first reported by some outlets, but dragged by the suspect's car. This article has been updated to reflect that new information.

By Associated Press

HOLLY SPRINGS, Ga. — A police officer has died after a traffic stop in which he fatally shot a man, possibly as the officer was being dragged, authorities said.

Holly Springs Police Chief Tommy Keheley said investigators believe Holly Springs officer Joe Burson shot the suspect late Wednesday while he was being dragged by a vehicle, but said an inquiry is ongoing.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Nelly Miles said Burson was dragged but managed to fire shots at the suspect. She said Burson and suspect both died despite first aid. The state agency is investigating Burson’s shooting of the suspect.

Officials had initially said Thursday that Burson had been shot to death. The deceased suspect was not immediately named.

Keheley said a shift supervisor was also present for the traffic stop due to speeding. Keheley said investigators are examining video footage and other evidence.

Keheley said he met overnight with the wife of the 25-year-old officer, who was from nearby Ball Ground. Burson was initially hired and trained by Holly Springs, his first police employer.

“He was a model officer," Keheley told reporters in a Thursday news conference. "If you had the ability to clone police officers, you would have wanted your police officer to be Joe Burson.”

The GBI is performing an autopsy on Burson's body.

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