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Ga. police puzzled by officers' gunfight

By Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Related: Off-duty Ga. officers shoot each other

GWINNET COUNTY, Ga. — Two police officers wounded in a shootout with each other continued to recover from non-life-threatening injuries in a Gwinnett County hospital Saturday while authorities tried to sort out the odd circumstances surrounding Friday's gunfight.

"I've seen people snap. I've seen incidents where people felt like their lives are passing them by," Don Woodruff, a spokesman for the Duluth Police Department, said Saturday. "But to see a police officer do this is just unreal."

At about 1 p.m. Friday, authorities say, Fulton County police Officer Paul Phillips, 37, was on his way home in suburban Sugar Hill. He was in uniform and driving a marked car. He stopped to help a woman who was leaning out of her parked car and yelling for help, according to Gwinnett police.

That's when police say a man in civilian clothes, later identified as Duluth police Officer Jay Daily, 42, jumped out from behind the woman's car and began shooting at Phillips, hitting him once. Phillips returned fire, police said.

The unidentified woman who cried for help was arguing with Daily before Phillips pulled over, according to Kathy Santry, a witness. Santry said the driver's side window of the woman's car was shattered, and the woman had blood on her hands.

An arrest warrant was issued for Daily, said Cpl. Illana Spellman, a spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, which is investigating the shooting. Daily is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

"We don't know the motivation for what [Daily] did," Spellman said Saturday.

Spellman said she did not know the name or the extent of the injuries of the woman seen arguing with Daily.

Saturday, Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies were guarding Daily, a member of the Duluth force for five years, at Gwinnett Medical Center. Daily is on paid suspension for now, according to Duluth Police Chief Randy Belcher.

"We're in just as much in shock as anyone," Woodruff said. "He was such a quiet, laid-back officer."

Officer Scott McBride with the Fulton Police Department said it was not known when Phillips will be discharged from the hospital.

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