Officer shot in the head with rifle round when encountering armed Tesla carjacking suspect

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    Shaddi Abusaid, Chelsea Prince

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    A search for an armed carjacker in Cobb County ended in an exchange of gunfire Thursday evening, injuring an officer and leaving the suspect dead. 

    Martin Humberto Sanchez Fregoso, 37, of Smyrna, was fatally shot after authorities said he fired a rifle and struck a Cobb officer in the head. He had been pursued from the area of Powers Ferry Road and Riverbend Club Drive after stepping out of a stolen Tesla and firing multiple rounds toward officers, according to the GBI.

    The officers were looking for the Tesla after a reported carjacking at a Publix on Delk Road. They were called to the store’s parking lot shortly before 7 p.m. to investigate a report of another stolen vehicle at the request of the Atlanta Police Department, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

    “When officers arrived at the location and located the stolen vehicle, they were notified by a citizen that they had just been carjacked,” Miles said in a news release. 

    They quickly located the stolen Tesla nearby, but it took off, Miles said. The vehicle eventually stopped and Fregoso allegedly fired his rifle multiple times, striking a patrol vehicle, she said.

    Police from several agencies chased the man into a townhome community near Powers Ferry and Akers Mill roads. The man fired at officers a second time after running into the neighborhood, according to Cobb County police spokesman Sgt. Wayne Delk.

    “He attempted to force his way into one of the residences, but the homeowner would not open the door even though he brandished his weapon,” Delk said.

    According to the GBI, Fregoso was confronted by police behind a dumpster in the complex. They gave him commands to drop his weapon, and Miles said he did not comply.

    “At some point, Fregoso discharged his firearm, striking a CCPD officer in the head,” she said. “Officers returned fire, striking Fregoso, who died on scene.” 

    The wounded officer was conscious at the scene and taken to the hospital, Delk said. He has since been released.

    The round that struck the officer did not penetrate his skull, and he is expected to make a full recovery. 

    The shooting investigation has been turned over to the GBI. It is the 51st officer-involved shooting the agency has been asked to investigate this year. 

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don’t involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI’s tally.

    — Please return to AJC.com for updates. 

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