By Mike Cooper
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A police officer was shot dead and two sheriff's deputies were wounded on Friday in a small Georgia town by a gunman who was then killed, the county sheriff said.
The wounded Henry County Sheriff's deputies were taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where one was in serious condition, Sheriff Keith McBrayer told reporters at a press conference.
McBrayer said the incident began when the two sheriff's deputies went to arrest a criminal suspect in the town of Locust Grove and called for backup when they realized they would have "issues placing him in custody."
The sheriff said the Locust Grove police officer had just arrived on the scene as backup when the shooting took place.
The officer killed was identified as Chase Maddox, 26, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a Twitter message.
The slain suspect has been identified by authorities but his name will not be released until his next of kin are notified, said Nelly Miles of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Images on local television showed police tape around two homes in a cul-de-sac of a Locust Grove subdivision, about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Maddox was the eighth U.S. law enforcement officer to be killed by gunfire in 2018, compared with five in 2017 through Feb. 9, according to the National Sheriffs' Association. It said 46 officers were killed by gunfire last year, down from 64 in 2016.
One of the Henry County deputies had been released from the Atlanta hospital by Friday afternoon, according to Atlanta's WSB-TV, but McBrayer said the other underwent surgery on Friday afternoon.
(Reporting by Mike Cooper, Peter Szekely and Bernie Woodall; Additional reporting and writing by Colleen Jenkins and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown)