Officer shoots knife-wielding man at Woodruff Park

ATLANTA -- Authorities say a police officer shot a man holding a large knife at Woodruff Park late Tuesday afternoon.

Woodruff Park was full as downtown workers and Georgia State students were leaving for the day.

Witnesses described an escalating fight between a policewoman and an aggressive homeless man she was trying to place under arrest.

Witnesses say the man was in a fight with the officer as she tried to get cuffs on him. He went for her gun, and she pushed him away.

As he came back at her, she struck him with her baton, knocking him to the ground. At that point, the suspect grabbed a butcher knife.

"She asked him, 'Please, stop'," one witness said. "She did say please. She said please stop, and that's when he got into his fighting stance. He was trying to fight her."

Others – including GSU student Jovonni Pharr – described a similar scene.

"I feel like he as bad-mouthing to the cop," Pharr said. "The first thing I noticed was the cop saying, 'See, I told you.' She got him up, and tried to arrest him."

Pharr was in the area doing research for an audio project, but he got much more when he pulled out his camera phone.

"He was trying to run past the dude," Pharr said. "The dude just tried to grab him, you know what I mean?"

The man in the suit grabbing the suspect was an undercover Georgia State police officer. Investigators say the APD officer may have saved the GSU officer's life when she shot the attacker.

"It was a very large knife, 8-inch blade," said Atlanta Police Lt. Paul Guerrucci. "He did go hand to hand with the Georgia State officer, stabbing him in the back. The Atlanta Police officer saw the threat to another person and stopped the threat."

The suspect and both officers were taken to nearby Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment – the suspect, who was shot, the GSU officer who had been stabbed, and the APD officer, who hurt her wrist in the scuffle.

Investigators are asking if anyone saw what happened or if they have video of what happened, that they contact Atlanta Police.

11Alive has obtained video of the shooting via Instagram, and we have decided to show it to you. However, after much discussion in our newsroom, we will only show the video up to the point the shot was fired. In light of the events going on nationally regarding police shootings, we feel it is important for you to see for yourself how the shooting unfolds and how the officer handled the situation, but also show you to prevent misinformation on social media. Watch the video below.


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