By Alton Mitchell
A Georgia sheriff’s deputy in neighboring Harris County, GA is on the road to recovery after a Saturday evening shooting on a Georgia Interstate just miles from Chambers County that has left him fighting for his life.
Deputy Jamie White a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s office was attempting to pull over a vehicle for a routine traffic stop on Interstate 185 near mile marker 30. That is near the Troup and Harris County line.
Deputy White was attempting to stop a 1994 Blue Chevrolet Caprice that is suspected to have been driven by 24-year-old Joe Garrett of Phenix City, Alabama. The traffic stop occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening. Deputy White had stopped the vehicle for speeding, a routine traffic stop and had approached the driver of the vehicle and obtained his driver’s license.
After a time period of around seven minutes the driver produced a firearm and shot White once above his left eye. Deputy white was down at the vehicles window talking to the driver when the shot was fired.The driver took his license back from the injured deputy and left the scene. Leaving the bleeding deputy on the side of the Interstate.
Emergency officials arrived to assist the deputy and he was taken to Midtown Medical Center in Columbus, Ga for his injuries. He remained in the ICU of the hospital until Monday when he was moved to different room in the hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.
Shortly following the incident on the side of the interstate, officials began to search for a suspect. Officials quickly identified Garrett as their suspected shooter and began searching the area for him. Late Saturday night he turned himself in to police in Phenix City. He waived his extradition to Harris County.
During the routine traffic stop officials state that the vehicle contained three occupants. Police believe that Garrett was the driver. A second suspect has been arrested in the case by the name of Lytishia Horace also 24 and of Phenix City. Officials are not saying if she was one of the suspected occupants of the vehicle, but she does face charges for hindering in the apprehension of Garrett, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of an officer. Investigators believe she attempted to hide Garrett and remove info from his cell phone following the shooting.
Investigators believe that the vehicle was occupied by one male and two females. Investigators have not yet located the suspected passengers in the shooting, but are still searching. Garrett faces a long list of charges that include aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony obstruction, possession of a firearm during a felony, and fleeing and attempting to elude. Garrett has previous convictions for family violence and drug related charges.
While the origin of the traffic stop is listed as a routine traffic stop for speeding, police officers know and understand that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Every stop is different and can explode at a moment’s notice as was the case on Saturday. In 2015 there were 124 law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty. Of that 124 seven of those shooting deaths were the results of routine traffic stops. In addition 42 died as a result of gunfire and 52 died from traffic related incidents. Garrett is being held in the Harris County jail at this time without bond for his charges, he may be moved to a neighboring facility in another County due to the charges involving a Harris County deputy.