Dawson deputy assaulted at local Chevron

By Denise Ray   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sgt. Randy Harkness

Authorities are continuing to investigate a Dec. 5 2017 officer involved shooting at a Dawson County gas station.

Dawson County Deputy Sgt. Randy Harkness gave a courtesy ride to Justin Alan Foster to the Chevron gas station at GA 400 and Dawsonville Highway on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 5. When they reached the gas station, around 2: 45 p.m., Harkness, 52, attempted to give Foster some money when the man allegedly began to assault Harkness.

A woman who had witnessed the altercation pulled her firearm, firing at Foster and hitting him at least once. Foster, 30, of Loganville, then fled across the Chevron parking lot to McDonald’s where he assaulted two individuals and attempted to car jack cars. A “Good Samaritan” encountered Foster and was able to subdue him until authorities arrived.

Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson has stated that the female bystander who shot the alleged assailant likely saved the officer’s life and possibly others.

“I truly believe through her actions he [Deputy Harkness] is here today,” Johnson said.

The suspect was shot once, the sheriff said.

Dawsonville resident Mike Sears was loading his groceries into his vehicle in the Ingles parking lot when he witnessed the incident.

“I heard several shots and turned toward the Chevron station,” Sears said. “I saw a lady firing a pistol. She stopped and I started walking toward her. I saw the police office down on the ground. He looked like he was dead. There was blood all over his face.”

Sears, 43, asked who had injured the officer and witnesses pointed to a man running toward McDonald’s.

“I saw him [Foster] beat up one guy as he tried to car jack that guy’s car,” Sears continued. “People kept pointing in the direction of where he [Foster] was running.”

Sears ran around the restaurant, toward the drive-thru exit and encountered “an elderly lady at the service entrance holding her bloody face in her hands.”

According to Sears, Foster then attempted to leave the parking lot, heading toward Georgia S.R. 400.

“I yelled for him to stop and get on the ground,” Sears explained. “He started walking toward me. I asked him if he had a gun. He sneered and shakes his head no.

Sears kicked Foster’s legs our from under him and had Foster in a choke hold. The two continued to wrestle until Sears regained a choke hold and “locked him down with my legs wrapped round him”.

An officer approached the scene and took Foster into custody.

“Why are you doing this, man”, Sears asked Foster. “Why are you doing this?”

“To make a statement,” Foster replied.

Foster appeared to have “eyes dilated”, was “jacked” and “seemed pissed” according to Sears.

“He beat up everybody on the way to McDonald’s”, Sears surmised. “He had super human strength.”

Sears was quick to dismiss reports that several civilians had participated in the capture of Foster.

“I’m not looking for any recognition,” he said. “I was the only person who took him down.”

Sears told Smokes Signals that “it’s in my character, I defend, I help” as to why he ran after Foster.

Reflecting on the day’s events, Sears was pensive.

“There’s a sense of overwhelming sadness,” he said. “We’re better than this. It’s sad for everyone involved. This guy’s ruining his life.”

Harkness, who sustained serious injuries to his head and neck, along with the elderly woman were taken to local hospitals and have since been released.

Foster was transported to an area hospital and treated for a gunshot wound. He remains hospitalized and under guard Johnson said.

Fourteen warrants have been obtained on Foster including two counts of battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault with the intent to rob, aggravated assault against a peace officer, obstruction, aggravated battery against a peace officer, attempted removal of a weapon from a public official, robbery by force, and aggravated assault with the intent to murder.

Harkness is a twenty-four year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office Johnson said. It remains unknown when Harkness initiated contact with Foster.

The names of the elderly woman and bystander have not been released.

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