Before Edgar Flores got his license, Jaemor Farms’ Drew Echols would drive him home from a hard day’s work.
On the way the two would talk, and Echols learned about the impressive young man who wanted to become a police officer.
“You wouldn’t want to call him an average Joe, because he’s much better than an average Joe. He had the same demeanor, he was always happy and just a hard worker,” Echols said.
Flores, 24, took gunfire while pursuing a man who ran from a traffic stop on Candler Road in DeKalb County near I-20 about 5 p.m. Thursday, according to police. He was shot multiple times when the man, identified by the GBI as 33-year-old Brandon Taylor of Decatur, pulled out a handgun.
Flores was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was at the beginning of his law enforcement career, hired by the police department on May 8, 2017, and a graduate of the Nov. 4, 2017, police academy class, the county said Friday morning in a statement.
Echols said Flores had worked on the farm at the corn maze since he was roughly 15 years old, a young man who was always good working with customers and the community.
“Even at 15 years old, (he) worked with grown men and kept up. He did a good job,” Echols said.
The two men last spoke in October when Flores visited the corn maze and the market. Flores told Echols about his new job and inquired about the farm.
Habersham County EMS Director Chad Black said law enforcement will be bringing Flores’ body back to Habersham County from the medical examiner’s office around 10 a.m. Saturday.
The shooting set off a massive manhunt for his alleged shooter involving county SWAT officers and a police dog.
Taylor was eventually found hiding near a pile of tires behind a business on Candler Road, about a block away from the initial traffic stop, GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said Friday.
“When confronted, Taylor fired his weapon, striking the K9,” Ammons said in a news release. “Three DKPD SWAT officers fired at Taylor. Taylor was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”
The police dog, a 7-year-old named Indi, was taken to a local veterinarian for treatment and rushed into surgery. He was stable Friday, Ammons said.
The GBI is conducting an investigation into the deadly shooting.
Flores was the fifth Georgia officer killed in the line of duty this year, and the 30th DeKalb police officer to be killed on the job. The last DeKalb officer killed in the line of duty was Master Patrol Officer Kevin Jermaine Toatley, who died in a car crash on Sept. 19, 2015.
Governor-elect Brian Kemp tweeted his condolences for the officer, saying, “We are forever grateful for his service and sacrifice. Our prayers are with those who mourn.”
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.