BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. — A police officer in Jackson is still recovering after jumping out of a window to escape a gunman.
Officer Diana Sanchez and her partner were called to a house in Butts County regarding a man screaming, but what they found was much different. Body camera footage from both officers shows Sanchez outside when her partner arrives at the house.
She tells her partner that she definitely heard a man screaming but didn't see anybody. The door to the home is open, and the two officers are seen knocking on the door of a home, announcing that they are with the Jackson Police Department.
The two officers start to wonder if the person in the home has fallen and head inside to see. The footage shows them walking around the home, checking areas, and calling out several times to anyone in the house. When the two finish checking the first floor of the home, Sanchez's partner walks to the front doorway and stands.
That's when a man can be heard screaming at police to leave his home and started firing gunshots. Sanchez's partner ran outside, but she was stuck in the bathroom.
The footage shows her running out of the bathroom to try to kick the back door down, but it doesn't budge. She then goes back into the bathroom, and the gunman is audibly getting closer, threatening to kill the officers.
"I controlled my breathing, and said, alright. You have a split second decision you have to make," she said.
Sanchez's partner stayed close by the house, continuously telling the homeowner to drop his weapon and come outside. She's still stuck in the bathroom with only a window.
"I knew as long as I was trapped in there, my partner was not going to stop," she said. "So now I am thinking my partner could possibly get hurt, and I have a daughter to come home to. So those are my only two things. My partner and my daughter at that point."
The window in the bathroom looks too small, but as the gunman walks up to the bathroom door, Sanchez realizes it is her only escape.
"When I landed, I chipped 4 or 5 of my teeth. It knocked me out for a minute, and when I came to, I could smell the blood, I could see it dripping," she said.
Bleeding and breathing hard, she runs away from the home and tells her partner she's safe as backup officers arrive. Police were able to arrest the man in the home without anyone getting shot.
Man shoots at police, officer jumps out window to escape
Sanchez said her courage comes from another officer who was gone too soon and gave his all to protect and serve - Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox. There's a photo of him that sits in her room after he died in the line of duty five years ago. Officer Sanchez had just learned she was expecting her first child shortly before his death.
"Chase was the first one to know I was pregnant with my daughter," she said.
And Maddox is now Her daughter's middle name. A name she hopes inspires her little girl to be just as brave.
The pain of losing Officer Chase Maddox was eased by the protection of her police community. And their community support is still there.
"I just burst in to tears, it's something you can't explain. But it's a blessing," she said.
Jackson Police Officers and the surrounding sheriff's department are coming together to make Sanchez's 4-year-old daughter's Christmas extra special. Anyone can donate to their online fundraiser here.
Sanchez said she's just grateful she's here to spend the holiday together.