Lumpkin Chief recounts shooting and recovery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lumpkin Chief recounts shooting and recovery

August 25, 2005

Lumpkin- Stewart County was founded in 1828. Thursday, August 18, 2005 was the first time in the county's history that a law enforcement officer has been shot.

Chief Jay Stripling was shot in the face by a man who came to the courthouse square looking for a fight. He says it's an experience both he and his community can use to grow.

It was just a week ago that Lumpkin Police Chief Jay Stripling lay on the street near this cruiser ambushed and shot in the face.

"I assume I was shot first because I don't remember hearing any gunshots before I went down, and that's just an assumption of mine," said Lumpkin Chief Jay Stripling.

He had stopped a possible suspect outside the Stewart County Courthouse when the barrage of bullets began.

"The bullet penetrated and went in and fractured my cheek bone, went through muscle, nerves, went through my ear canal," said Stripling.

It shattered the bone right behind the ear and lodged in the skin and tissue near his collar bone. Chief Stripling knew it was a dangerous situation going in. When he got out of his car, he was prepared to try to defend both the city and himself.

"When you have people shooting in a town this size or any size, rampart shots are flying around and innocent persons may be lying in their bed and a bullet could come through the wall and kill someone," said Stripling.

As the recovery process begins for both the Chief and the city he is sworn to serve, there is still a lot of healing to be done.

"I'm sure it shakes a town down to it's very foundation. People wake up the next morning and what has happened, this is a small town and we don't expect things like this to happen," said Stripling.

He wants Lumpkin and other communities to have faith in those who protect them.

"The confidence of the people in the police department is the most important thing that you will ever have, because if they loose confidence in you, your job is hard of if at all possible to do," said Stripling.

He says, citizens need to know that he's anxious to complete his recovery and return to service because he simply loves his job.

"Those who are in it for the glory, will soon leave. Those who are in it for the power, will soon leave or be left. Those that are in it because we love what we do and we feel it from the heart will stay there," said Stripling.

Chief Jay Stripling has a doctor's appointment Friday to learn more about the damage done to the area around his eye. Stewart County Deputy Clinton Rivers who was also shot in the face was released from the hospital earlier this week. EMT Vance Streeter was the most severely injured with a severed artery in his leg is also now recovering at home.

Twenty six year old Marcus Dalton is believed to be the gunman who opened fire on police and EMT. He was shot and killed by officers during the shoot out.

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