VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Officer Brian Becton responded to a suspicious person call on Mathis Drive and moments after he arrived, he was shot several times. The officer is hospitalized and the gunman is in jail.
The typical quiet on Mathis Drive was pierced by gunfire before daybreak. Valdosta Patrol Officer Brian Bectin was responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person in the area. "When officer Becton arrived here at 2106 Mathis Drive, he saw a man running. Officer Becton gave chase, and that's when the suspect started to fire his handgun," said Valdosta Police Lt. Bobbi McGraw.
Officer Becton was shot several times, but the suspect was quickly apprehended. Police arrested 25 year old Michael Bass. "We've had a good number of incidences, car break-ins. This is the time of year that we do have burglaries, break-ins, things like that. So, any time we get a call for a suspicious person in the area, we respond to it," said McGraw.
Haley Rogers, a Freshman at Valdosta State University, lives just across the street from where the shooting occurred. "I heard, I think I counted five gunshots. They were like really close together. And I could hear, it sounded like a grown man cussing and like yelling."
Officer Becton underwent surgery and is recovering from his wounds. This is the first time since 2003 that an officer of the Valdosta Police Department has been injured by gunfire. "We just thank God that our officer is doing well," said McGraw. "We do not see this happening very often, thank goodness. It's just a very unfortunate situation that's happened. We believe the officer is doing well and is going to recover just fine."
While the shooting alarmed people in the neighborhood, they are somewhat comforted by the quick response by police. Michael Bass is charged with Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Other charges are pending.