CBS Atlanta News has learned the identity of the SWAT officer wounded during a shootout with Lauren Brown, and spoke to that officer's neighbors who now call him a hero.
We are not naming the officer until Gwinnett County police release his identity to the public out of respect for his family. The veteran police officer is currently recovering in a local hospital after receiving surgery on his wrist.
The officer was shot during the exchange of gunfire with Brown, in turn he shot and killed Brown during the assault.
"I had no idea it was him," Joe Roberts said. Roberts lives a few doors down from the officer. "It makes me feel good, you don't know about every police officer, whether they would have the guts to come to your rescue or not. It just makes me feel good knowing he would have the guts to do that, the bravery."
Brown held five Gwinnett County firefighters hostage for hours on Tuesday. Police said he lured them to his home at 2440 Walnut Grove Way in Suwanee by placing a fake 911 call where he claimed to be having a heart attack.
At some point, one firefighter was released leaving four others still inside when SWAT team members moved in. They used explosives to blow a hole in the side of the home, then used flash-bang grenades to disorient Brown.
"It was a shock, a surprise," neighbor Steven Harmon said. "But, it makes you feel comfortable living in the neighborhood with the officer across the street. When he gets out of the hospital I'll express my gratitude, and tell him he is a hero."
Brown's home is in foreclosure and his demands were to have the power and utilities turned back on. The firefighters were his leverage to meet those demands. Negotiators tried peacefully to end the situation with no one getting harmed, but in the end felt that no matter what they did the firefighter's lives were in danger.
"To go into a house with a guy like that, you gotta be willing to put your life on the line and know what you are doing when you go into, that's bravery," Roberts said.
The officer is an expert marksman and has held the position of sniper team leader for SWAT.
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