‘You will have to protect yourself and you will have to protect others’: APD chief talks recent officer-involved shooting

Chief Michael Persley explained how his team resolved the shooting and resources that can be...
Chief Michael Persley explained how his team resolved the shooting and resources that can be used if someone is in a domestic violence situation.(Source: WALB)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Early Wednesday morning, the Albany Police Department responded to a call on Montego Court.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said a man inside a home assaulted his mother with a gun and fired at officers when they approached the home.

“You know this is a situation where we went there to try to get the gentleman to come out, but he took it to another level,” Persley said.

Persley said when the man inside — later identified as Richard Lee Hunter — saw two officers coming, he fired several shots and one officer fired a shot back. A SWAT team used tear gas, and officers found the man hiding in a closet. No one was injured.

Police believe it was a good outcome.

“I don’t want anybody thinking that there’s a cookie-cutter solution. Because once you are there and you’re standing in the line of fire, the situation has risen to a critical level. You will have to protect yourself and you will have to protect others,” Persley said.

Persley believes the man was experiencing a psychological episode when police responded to the call from his mother.

Richard Lee Hunter is the man involved in the shooting that followed a domestic violence...
Richard Lee Hunter is the man involved in the shooting that followed a domestic violence incident.(Source: WALB)

“He had been dealing with mental health issues and what we have gathered over the course of our investigation yesterday is that this was totally a mental health episode that was not induced by any kind of mind-altering substance,” he said.

The incident report states that Hunter threatened his mother at gunpoint saying, “I’ll kill you,” after she refused to let him borrow her car. He put the gun to the left side of her head and then hit her.

Persley said mental health issues can often manifest to domestic violence situations. He said it doesn’t have to reach this point.

“Here in the State of Georgia, we’ve been doing CIT training for years. We have been. Matter of fact, when the officers graduate from the academy, they had an opportunity to go to CIT training. The week after the academy. We send ours, and we continue to do training when it comes to mental health,” Persley said.

Domestic violence resources can be found at the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office or the Liberty House of Albany.