UPDATE: Search suspect of last week's officer shooting continues, reward upped to $11,500
The Chattanooga police officer was hit three times; his bullet-proof vest stopped at least one round from inflicting more serious injury.
SUMMARY: Chattanooga police held a news conference Monday to provide a status update on the suspect search. The officer, who has not yet been named, was wearing a bullet-proof vest, which stopped at least one of the three rounds that struck him, according to CPD Chief Fred Fletcher.
An increased $11,500 reward for information leading to the location and arrest of the suspect has been offered by citizens and police groups.
Fletcher called the officer "my personal hero" because he not only returned fire, but was able to get a description of the suspect out to fellow police officers via radio.
The search for the suspect who shot a Chattanooga police officer three times Thursday morning in the Glenwood community continues after a massive, city-wide search effort. Chattanooga police were utilizing "all available resources." According to CPD Chief Fred Fletcher, the officer was checking an abandoned building to make sure no one was inside. That is when a man came out, firing at the officer.
At some point, the suspect opened fire and the officer was hit three times. The officer was treated at Erlanger for injuries not considered life-threatening and later released. Police say the officer did also fire his duty weapon which was retrieved by investigators.
The officer did drive himself to Erlanger for medical treatment immediately after being shot. The officers bulletproof vest did stop one of the bullets which struck him. He was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle was not in a position to record the incident.
Police say the officer was not dispatched to the location of the incident, but was being proactive by responding to an abandoned apartment which has received multiple complaints in the past. There have been criminal trespassing issues reported as well as suspicious activities and possible use of narcotics in the vacant apartments.
At least two helicopters and one drone were used in the search for the suspect. SWAT teams were actively searching several areas Thursday.
The investigators with the Violent Crimes Bureau are currently following up on all actionable leads. The suspect has not been identified as of yet.
SUSPECT DESCRIPTION: Black male, who at the time, was wearing dark pants, dark hoodie with white, cursive lettering on the clothing. He is described as 5'10" to 6' tall with a medium build. Police say anyone who helps this man hide or avoid police will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Tips can lead to a $11,500 reward by calling 423-698-2525.
PREVIOUS STORY: The officer shot Thursday morning has been released from the hospital and is with family.
The search has led to several schools being on a "soft lockdown" which means classes go on as usual, but no one is allowed outside. These schools include Brainerd Baptist School, McCallie, Notre Dame, CSAS, Hardy Elementary, Orchard Knob Elementary, and Orchard Knob Middle.
The shooting happened in the 1000 block of Mission Avenue. Nearby private schools, Brainerd Baptist, McCallie, and Notre Dame have been locked down as a precautionary measure.
They are currently searching for the suspect using K-9 units and have established a search area. Roads around the area have been closed to traffic as the search continues.