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Fugitive Killed, 2 Officers Wounded In Shootout

Police Credit Body Armor for Saving Officer

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An early morning shootout Saturday left a drug fugitive dead and an Atlanta police officer thankful for body armor.

Officer Corey Grogen and Lt. John Demitt came under fire when they tried to arrest Joshua Rickman at his southwest Atlanta home for a hostage incident in Douglasville Friday.

The officers returned fire and killed Rickman, police said. Grogen, an eight-year Atlanta police veteran, was hit in the chest.

"Thank God his bulletproof vest prevented any penetration," police spokeswoman Sylvia Abernathy told WSB-TV.

A bullet shattered Demitt's shoulder radio and shrapnel struck his face.

Both men were treated at Grady Memorial Hospital and released, Abernathy said.

A woman believed to be Rickman's girlfriend was shot in the leg and hospitalized in stable condition.

The chain of events began Friday night in Douglasville when Rickman took several people hostage in an apartment, Douglasville Police Chief Joe Whisenant said.

"He was allegedly upset about a couple pounds of methamphetamines that he said had been stolen from him inside that apartment," Whisenant said. "When police officers arrived, they started jumping out second story windows and a balcony trying to get away."

Police tracked Rickman to his house in Atlanta, and dozens of officers, SWAT team members, firefighters and paramedics converged on the neighborhood. The commotion woke a nearby family.

"We heard a succession of gunshots," said a woman who spoke to WSB-TV on condition of anonymity. "My daughter came running in the room and she said the police were outside."

The girl said she witnessed the shooting.

"I saw police and the man fire," she said.

The police spokeswoman, Abernathy, said the heavy police presence in the neighborhood was standard procedure.

"This is a residential area, so we have to be concerned for the families," Abernathy said. "Whenever you have a hostage situation or a fugitive who is armed and dangerous, there are challenges that you face." Web editor Dan Williams compiled this report with reporting from Channel Two correspondent Elenora Andrews.
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