An Atlanta police officer is still hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital after he was shot six times in the line of duty Monday afternoon. According to arrest warrants for the shooter, Atlanta Police Officer David Rodgers was shot four times in his right shoulder, once in his knee and once to the back side of his head, 11ALIVE reported.
Rodgers, who has been with the department since 2011, was pursuing 22-year-old suspect Christian Eppinger, wanted for an October 2021 aggravated assault and robbery, at an apartment complex around 1:15 p.m. WSB-TV reported that police say Eppinger is a documented gang member with the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang.
"This individual was armed and this individual was looking to cause harm at the appropriate time. It happened to be an Atlanta police officer that was able to intervene before he was able to rob anybody else, before he was able to assault anyone else," Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said during a press conference.
According to warrants, undercover officers were monitoring Eppinger on Monday and requested uniformed officers and marked patrol vehicles for assistance. After observing Eppinger make stops at two locations and then returning to an apartment complex, a uniformed APD officer was first on scene to try to make the arrest when Eppinger allegedly ignored verbal commands to get on the ground.
"Mr. Eppinger pushed (the officer), gaining space between the two at which (the officer) attempted to draw his taser. Before (the officer) could discharge his taser toward Mr. Eppinger, Mr. Eppinger produced a firearm and began shooting at (the officer) multiple times, striking (him) six times," the warrants stated.
At that point, a detective returned fire at Eppinger, who then fled. The shooting suspect was later seen running into an apartment unit and then fugitive units entered the apartment and took him into custody.
Eppinger is now facing attempted murder and criminal street gang activity charges.
He appeared in court on Tuesday and was denied bond both on the charges related to the officer's shooting and on the original armed robbery charges. A Fulton County judge ruled that he was likely to re-offend and was a probable flight risk.
“The Atlanta Police Department will not be deterred. This today only reinforces why we took the oath and why we are here. So every gang member should know if you are committing crimes in this city, we’re going to come and we’re going to arrest you and we’re going to bring you before court,” Schierbaum added.