01/04/2007

Protective vest saves Ga. cop's life

By Bill Osinski
Copyright 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Thanks largely to his protective vest, Gwinnett Police Officer Craig Lake was at home resting Tuesday.

Lake was hit during an exchange of gunfire Monday night with a man who pulled a gun, police said. The other man shot at Lake; and Lake shot at the suspect, killing him, police said.

The protective vest Lake was wearing likely saved him from serious injury or even death, police said.

Lake, a seven-year veteran of the force, spent the night at a hospital, but was released early Tuesday morning. Police spokesman Cpl. Darren Moloney said in a statement that Lake was sore, but otherwise uninjured.

Moloney said Lake was on routine patrol in the 1600 block of McKendree Church Road off Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road about 11 p.m. Monday when he observed a man dressed in black walking through the parking lot of a business complex.

"The officer drove into the parking lot, got out of his car and verbally challenged the man," Moloney said in the news release. "The male turned toward the oficer and brandished a handgun, shooting at the officer at least once."

Lake returned fire. The dead man has not yet been identified.

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