'Countless lives saved' chief says of chaotic hospital shooting
A man who recently had been treated returned to Fairview Park Hospital with a gun Sunday night.
Shortly after 9 p.m., law enforcement officers encountered the gunman who opened fire, said Police Chief Tim Chatman in a late night press briefing.
Officers returned fire and a Laurens County sheriff’s deputy was wounded in the lower leg and the shooter initially got away.
“We saw a head popping up behind the hedges and we challenged the individual and we were able to lock him up,” Chatman said.
The gunman was identified as Akeem Woodard, although the correct spelling of his name could not be initially verified.
No patients or staff were harmed.
“He ran in one particular room, but no violence occurred in that room,” the chief said.
Chatman said Woodard was hospitalized last week.
“He had been in and out of Fairview Park for the last three days,” said Chatman, who was not sure why Woodard was hospitalized. “We don’t know why he came back.”
Officers conducted several searches of the hospital to make sure there was not a second shooter.
“We are certain there was one person,” Chatman said. “We want the public to know everything is safe.”
The hospital reopened about midnight, he said.
The GBI is investigating the officer-involved shooting.
The deputy’s name was not immediately released, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
Two weeks ago, the hospital conducted an active shooter drill and the staff handled the situation according to procedure, Chatman said.
“We’re grateful to the Lord that he minimized. It could have been bad,” he said.
Chatman thought about the fatal police shootings that have plagued Middle Georgia this year, including the death of Eastman police officer Tim Smith, the killings of two officers in Americus, the shooting of two Byron police officers last week and the deaths of two Peach County deputies last month.
“All over America, you can see violence is growing everyday,” Chatman said.
Come back to macon.com for updates on this developing story and read Tuesday’s Telegraph.