Detective Ira Taylor, a law enforcement veteran of 27 years, suffered an above-the-knee injury at the hands of Michael Anthony Brooks II, a 24-year-old from Lindale, Calif., authorities said.
Brooks has been charged with two counts of obstructing a police officer, two counts of theft by taking, two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, and three counts of aggravated assault. He remained Monday in the Hamilton County, Tenn., jail on $150,000 bond.
Brooks was in a Jeep with another male and a 26-year old female passenger at the Kangaroo gas station on U.S. 27 in Chickamauga when two passersby noticed their escalating arguments.
According to Chickamauga police chief Michael Haney, the female in Brooks’ Jeep yelled several times for someone to call 911, which one man did. The other bystander, who happened to be a Walker County firefighter, placed a second call at the woman's request.
Two Chickamauga police officers, detective Taylor and Cpl. Kenny Evans, responded and pulled the vehicle over in the 100 block of Wilder Road, according to Haney.
Brooks was then questioned by the officers outside of his Jeep, which they noticed had California license plates.
The two officers believed Brooks was having some sort of mental episode and planned to transport him to Erlanger at Hutcheson hospital in Fort Oglethorpe for evaluation. As Cpl. Evans walked Brooks back to a patrol vehicle, Brooks became combative.
According to Haney, in a matter of seconds, Brooks had knocked the cartridge off Evans’ taser with one hand and grabbed Evans’ 40-caliber handgun with the other hand.
“He managed to take the duty weapon away from the officer, then he began firing rounds at the officers,” Haney said.
Haney estimates Brooks fired six shots, one of which hit Taylor in the knee before the officer was able to pull his duty weapon.
Brooks returned to his vehicle and fled the scene on Wilder Road, headed east toward Catoosa County.
“A BOLO (Be On the Lookout) was put out across the tri-state area for the suspect vehicle,” Walker County sheriff Steve Wilson said. Taylor, despite being shot, gave a detailed description and focused on his duties before dealing with his wound.
The firefighter, who had made the second 911 call, proceeded to bandage the “large laceration” to Taylor’s leg as other law enforcement officials arrived on scene, according to Haney. The firefighter found out later that his own vehicle (a green Jeep) had been hit by a stray bullet in the right front tire while Brooks was firing at officers.
Taylor was taken to Erlanger at Hutcheson hospital and released before 9 p.m.
“The officer is fine,” said Haney. “He appeared to have a contact wound above the knee.”
The bullet gashed the tissue above his knee; 14 staples were needed to close the wound.
Taylor, 49, has been with the Chickamauga Police Department for four years.
Meanwhile, the search for Brooks continued, and law enforcement soon received a lucky tip from one of their own.
Detective Sgt. Mike Hinch, with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, was on his way home for the evening and came across the Jeep that Brooks had been driving along Three Notch Road south of Post Oak Road in Catoosa County. The vehicle was unattended and the motor was still running.
Hinch then noticed a female on the side of the road and learned that Brooks had carjacked her Jeep at gunpoint.
He put out a call that the suspect was driving a different Jeep, which was soon spotted by a Catoosa County deputy heading east on Battlefield Parkway.
The Catoosa deputy was joined by a Walker deputy, Cpl. Todd Franklin, in pursuit of Brooks, who then turned onto I-75 heading north in heavy traffic, according to Wilson.
“They attempted many times to try and stop the suspect,” Wilson said. “He refused to stop.”
Brooks crossed into East Ridge, Tenn., and turned around at the Ringgold Road exit (exit 1) and headed south going the wrong way.
A law enforcement officer from New Jersey, who happened to be returning from a Florida vacation with his family, alertly slowed traffic in the northbound I-75 lanes.
The two pursuing deputies performed a maneuver in which they pinched Brooks’ vehicle as he drove it the opposite direction between the two patrol vehicles. All three vehicles sustained severe damage, according to Wilson. The Catoosa County deputy sustained a “minor to moderate shoulder injury” during the maneuver.
Brooks was armed with the officer’s handgun after the collision but did not resist any further.
“We’re very thankful that he didn’t choose to point that gun at the officers or we would have possibly had a different ending this evening,” Wilson said.
Nearly 40 minutes had elapsed from the initial 911 call to the time Brooks was taken into custody, according to Wilson.
“We are very thankful that no other innocent individuals were injured in the pursuit,” Wilson said.
The officer from New Jersey had retired 30 days earlier and commented to Wilson after the pursuit ended that he didn’t expect retirement to be like this.
“He actually played a pivotal part,” Wilson said. “We are thankful with his training and knowledge of what was happening.”
Brooks' passengers, the Atlanta-area female who insisted upon the 911 call and a 55-year-old male from Johnstown, Penn., possibly her father, were interviewed at the Walker County Sheriff’s Office after the incident. They were released without charges.
Haney is appreciative of the speedy response by several agencies that responded to the scene, and for the two officers performing “a dangerous head-on maneuver that put their lives on the line.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigation will lead the shooting investigation. Tennessee Highway Patrol is handling the aggravated assault with the vehicle that Brooks carjacked. Catoosa County Sheriff’s office will be responsible for investigating the carjacking.