Video: Ga. officer attacked by machete-wielding suspect

The suspect first walked away from the officer before turning around and lunging at him

Shaddi Abusaid
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS, Ga. — Athens police on Wednesday released body camera footage of an Oct. 5 incident in which an officer shot a man who appeared to lunge at him with a machete.

The officer encountered the North Carolina man while responding to a domestic violence call at University Gardens Apartments on Baxter Drive, authorities said previously.

In the video, the officer, identified as Roger Williams, approaches 28-year-old Salvador Salazar and tells the man to take his hands out of his pockets. One of the man’s hands can be seen in the video, but the other appears to be holding something in the pocket.

Salazar then walks away from the officer, who follows him through the parking lot in the apartment complex. 

The officer tells the man repeatedly to stop, but the man continues walking away, the video shows. 

About 40 seconds into the interaction, the man spins around and appears to lunge at the officer with a large blade.

The officer fires three rounds, striking the man in the mid-section as the suspect drops to the asphalt. Groaning and still clutching his machete, Salazar appears to try standing up after being shot. 

By that point, other officers can be heard telling the man to drop his weapon and remain on the ground. He was taken into custody at the scene. 

Nearly two weeks after the shooting, Salazar remains hospitalized in serious condition, Athens police spokesman Geof Gilland said. Williams was placed on paid administrative leave, which is department policy after an officer-involved shooting. 

Salazar was charged with one count of aggravated assault against an officer, according to the GBI, which was brought in to investigate the incident.

Athens has been the location of several officer-involved shootings this year. 

On Monday, an Athens police officer with 29 years on the force fatally shot a woman who allegedly pulled a knife and charged at him. 

Authorities said the officer told the woman, identified as 54-year-old Bonny Thomas, to drop her knife repeatedly before the shooting. She was taken to a hospital, where she died. 

And in July, Athens police officers fatally shot a knife-wielding man who was “acting erratically” inside an apartment complex while covered in his own blood, authorities said. 

Aaron Hong, 23, was shot multiple times by officers who said he charged at them with a butcher knife, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said previously.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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