Woman recalls shooting suspect who attacked deputy

April Adamson was preparing to get gas when she sensed something was wrong. That's when she saw Sgt. Randy Harkness fall to the ground


By Ellen Eldridge
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A woman who rushed to help a Dawson County deputy in trouble shared her story with Channel 2 Action News.

April Adamson was preparing to get gas at a Dawsonville Chevron gas station Dec. 5, when she sensed something was wrong, she told the news station.

Sgt. Randy Harkness was giving the suspect a courtesy ride and was in the process of giving him money when the officer was attacked. (Photo/Dawson County Sheriff's Office)
Sgt. Randy Harkness was giving the suspect a courtesy ride and was in the process of giving him money when the officer was attacked. (Photo/Dawson County Sheriff's Office)

That’s when she saw Sgt. Randy Harkness fall to the ground.

She fired twice at the suspect, 30-year-old Justin Alan Foster, and hit him at least once, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Foster had just received a courtesy ride from Harkness, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, to the gas station and Harkness was in the process of giving Foster money when he was attacked, officials said.

“He had both hands on the officer's gun trying to get it out of his holster,” Adamson said.

Adamson said she called 911 but had no time to wait for deputies to respond. She believed Foster was about to kill Harkness, she told Channel 2. 

“As soon as the guy hit the officer I pushed the call button, reached into my glove box, grabbed the gun and came out,” Adamson said.

When Foster didn’t back off, Adamson said she fired a warning shot in the grass.

“As he took off toward Ga. 400, I fired two more shots at him,” Adamson said.

The woman told Channel 2 that her parents both worked as police officers and her instinct was to protect Harkness.  

“If he hit this officer and did damage to him I knew he was going to do something to someone else so I couldn’t let that happen,” she said.

Adamson stayed with the deputy as authorities chased Foster, who allegedly tried to carjack three other people before he was arrested. 

Other good Samaritans held Foster down until police arrived. He was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound. 

Foster faces 14 charges including aggravated assault with intent to murder, attempted removal of a weapon from a public official and obstruction.

Adamson told Channel 2 she and Harkness are now lifelong friends.

“It’s kind of an emotional thing,” she said. “We all kind of bonded from this experience.” 

©2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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