A man wielding a “medieval” type sword threatened a Covington police officer who then shot the suspect twice in the abdomen Wednesday afternoon.
The Covington Police Department, Newton County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were on scene at the 3100 block area of Brookwood Circle just off Legion Drive, shortly after the 12:36 p.m. shooting.
The suspect, Julian Leon Faulkner, Jr., of Covington, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta via life-flight, and as of Thursday afternoon was in stable but critical condition.
According to CPD Capt. Craig Treadwell, Faulkner Jr. was seen walking in and out of traffic carrying the sword along Legion Drive. Callers to the 911 center even reported the man swiping his sword at some cars passing by.
Faulkner, Jr.’s neighbor Robert Cartledge saw him walk past his house with a sword – “like what you might get at a Renaissance fair” – as he was carrying groceries into his house. Cartledge said his wife then told him Faulkner had “taken a swipe” at her car with the sword, so Cartledge ran after Faulkner in an effort to calm him down and hopefully take him home.
Cartledge said he got to within “the length of a football field” of Faulkner when he saw the CPD officer’s flashers and knew he was too late.
“I was trying to get him to come home and go to bed or something. I was just a little late,” Cartledge said.
CPD arrived on scene reportedly two minutes after receiving a call on the suspicious person, and spotted Faulkner, Jr. near the tree line on Brookwood Circle.
Treadwell said an officer stepped out of his car, and the suspect became agitated and raised his sword above his head at the officer.
The officer then retreated around his patrol car from the suspect, drawing his weapon and issuing a verbal command.
“As he gave a verbal command with his weapon drawn, the suspect became more agitated and raised his sword above his head and attacked the officer again,” Treadwell said. “The officer had no choice but to fire his weapon.”
Treadwell said one of the shots grazed Faulkner, Jr and the other hit him in “just about as center of the sternum as you can get.”
Immediate medical attention was given to Faulkner, 44, by the responding officers, who reportedly was still “scuffling” after he had been shot, needing to be immobilized.
EMS and Covington Fire personnel were immediately notified and responded to the scene.
“It was touch and go there whether he would live or die,” Treadwell said.
The suspect was airlifted to Grady Hospital in critical condition and was being operated on during Treadwell’s press conference around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
An investigation of the incident was turned over to GBI, and the officer’s name was not released. He is a CPD veteran of more than 10 years and was not harmed in the incident. Faulkner lived in a location roughly half a mile from the scene. He will be charged by the GBI after his condition, which as of Thursday consisted of being on a breathing machine, improves.
According to CPD policy, the officer was placed on administrative leave until the investigation is completed. According to Treadwell, this is the first officer to be involved in a shooting for CPD in 2014.
Reporters Kayla Robins and Rob Dewig contributed to this report.