Fulton County police officer Charles Wallace was shot in the back Thursday morning. Family and friends identified the officer to CBS Atlanta Thursday night.
The officer's mother, Gale Wallace said she worries about her son's safety while he is at work, but knows it's part of his job.
Wallace, a 20-year veteran officer, was shot close to his spine. The bullet did not pierce his body armor.
If he had not been wearing his bulletproof vest, his family said he might be either paralyzed or dead.
Wallace's mother said her son had a large bandage on his back from a bruise left by the bullet hitting the vest.
Fulton County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Kay Lester said the officer saw a suspicious-looking person in the area of White City Road near College Park around 8 a.m. Thursday morning. When the officer and his partner went to investigate, the suspect opened fire hitting Wallace in the vest.
"We can say that the vest he was wearing did save his life," Lester said. "And we are very grateful he was wearing his vest, and all officers should wear their vest."
Following a shoot-out the suspect was shot and killed.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, the officer is a member of the department's SWAT team. The officer was not on SWAT duty at the time of the shooting, the source said.
Nearby Harriet Tubman Elementary School was briefly placed on lockdown in the minutes following the shooting.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave pending outcome of shooting investigation.
Wallace was treated and released from Grady Hospital.
The name of the suspect has not been released. Lester said suspect did have an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
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