The man who shot an East Ridge Police officer during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon was shot and killed by law enforcement during a gun battle in the woods on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Corporal Terry Prescott, who was shot on the traffic stop, was to be released from the hospital Monday afternoon. Chief Stan Allen said, "The East Ridge Police Department wishes to express sincere gratitude for all the thoughts and prayers for his recovery that have been pouring in from all over the region."
Police from multiple agencies had been looking for the shooter, who was identified as Christopher John Kitts, 42, who is from Dallas, Tex.
East Ridge Police said, "The fugitive was located after an extensive air and ground search by multiple law enforcement agencies. The fugitive engaged officers several times with gunfire before ultimately being shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"The East Ridge Police Department is thankful for the assistance of the local, state, and federal officers as well as the outpouring of support from the community. Please keep Corporal Prescott and his family in your thoughts and prayers as they recover from this incident."
Austin Garrett, Hamilton County chief deputy sheriff, said, "Suspect down early this morning in Catoosa County. Manhunt is over. Incredible teamwork by area law enforcement agencies throughout the night. Many of your Tennessee, Georgia and federal law enforcement officers were deep in the woods in the dark of night with shots being fired at them multiple times. Warriors, filled with determination and no fear, each of them!"
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said Catoosa County 911 received a lookout at about 2 p.m. Sunday for a man later identified as Kitts, who was wanted in connection with shooting the East Ridge police officer. Law enforcement officers located Kitts’s abandoned vehicle in the Lynnwood Subdivision of the Rossville community at about 3 p.m. Officers from multiple Georgia and Tennessee agencies began searching for Kitts.
A K-9 unit tracked Kitts into a wooded area near Old Lakeview Drive and Black Branch Creek, where the suspect later began shooting at the pursuing officers. Law enforcement returned fire, but no one was struck during the exchange. Sheriff Sisk said Kitts continued firing periodically with a high-powered rifle at the officers and an aerial drone that was surveilling the area. As darkness of the evening approached Kitts began to move through the wooded area and was able to elude capture.
Sheriff Sisk said Kitts was tracked for 11 hours through a 168-acre heavily wooded area with air support, tactical teams and officers on the ground from multiple local, state and federal agencies. Sheriff Sisk said Kitts continued to fire his weapon in the direction of approaching officers as they pursued him.
Troopers with a Georgia State Patrol SWAT unit eventually gained a tactical advantage and engaged Kitts in a wooded area behind a residence on Glade Road in the Rossville community. Sheriff Sisk said Kitts refused to follow lawful commands and again tried to shoot at law enforcement officers. Officers returned fire and Kitts was shot and succumbed to his injuries.
“Thanks to the support from multiple Georgia, Tennessee and federal law enforcement officers, we were able to prevent Kitts from eluding capture,” said Sheriff Sisk. “We appreciate everyone’s efforts to work together and prevent an already bad situation from escalating even further.”
Amanda Alexander and her nine-year-old daughter said they were at their Rossville home when the frightening drama played out. They said Kitts initially tried to hide under one of their cars. Police eventually forced him away from houses to a large wooded section. Ms. Alexander said they heard gunfire throughout the night.
Corporal Prescott was reportedly shot in the face and neck in the earlier incident.
At 1:50 p.m., East Ridge Corporal Terry Prescott made a traffic stop on a red Dodge Challenger at 4000 Ringgold Road. Before Corporal Prescott could exit his vehicle, the driver got out and fired several shots at the patrol car. The suspect jumped back into his car and fled.
Officers responded and stabilized Corporal Prescott until EMS arrived. He was transported to Erlanger Hospital.
The suspect vehicle was located by Georgia State Patrol in a subdivision off Paige Road in Rossville. The suspect had already fled on foot before the vehicle was located and is currently being sought by multiple law enforcement agencies in the area of Paige Road and Lakeview Drive.
He was identified by in-car video and the vehicle registration as Kitts.