Authorities said Thursday they believe the suspect who shot a Banks County Sheriff’s Office deputy may now be in the Atlanta area.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the man fired multiple times at deputies Wednesday, striking one officer whose ballistic vest stopped the bullet.
The suspect is described as a black man between 30 and 40 years old wearing black clothing.
The deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment. The sheriff described his injuries as not life-threatening.
The GBI and the FBI are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s identity and capture.
Authorities say the confrontation came after reports that a vehicle was stolen at the Atlanta Dragway, 500 E. Ridgeway Road, in Commerce.
Banks County sheriff's officials said when their deputies tried to stop the stolen vehicle near the Tanger Outlet Center in Commerce, the man opened fire at them and then fled across Interstate 85.
Authorities are also investigating a kidnapping around the time of the shooting.
“A female resident of Commerce arrived home to find a suspect matching the shooter’s description inside her residence,” GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles wrote in a news release. “The house is located approximately two miles from where the deputy was shot. The female was forced at gunpoint to drive the suspect to the metro Atlanta area before she was released.”
The woman sustained minor injuries, and the suspect took a burgundy Ingles grocery store pullover shirt.
Agencies throughout Northeast Georgia are participating in the search. Georgia State Patrol and Hall County Sheriff’s Office SWAT teams are involved.