McDonough, GA (CBS46)- Henry County Police Officer Michael Smith, who was shot in the face on Thursday by a suspect, has begun to show some signs of improvement.

"I want to thank the public and all of the public safety departments from across the state for their prayers and support for Officer Michael Smith. Today Mike was showing signs of improvement. He has a very strong supportive family both at home and at work. The next 24 hours are very critical for him. Please continue to pray for Officer Smith and his family," said Chief Mark Amerman on Friday.

The shooting happened around 9 a.m. Thursday morning on the 300 block of Jonesboro Road.

The Henry County Police Department says the suspect went to a dental office and began disrupting the business. Employees called 911 and when the officer arrived, that's when the shooting occurred.

The suspect has been identified as 53-year-old Dimaggio McNelly is dead, while Officer Smith remains in critical condition at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Preliminary information indicates employees of the business called 911 at approximately 8:07 am to report a man making a disturbance at the location. An Henry County Police Officer arrived on the scene and made contact with McNelly.

After speaking with McNelly, McNelly became combative and the officer deployed his Taser on him more than once. The Taser was ineffective. McNelly lunged at the officer and a struggle ensued.

At some point during the struggle, one shot was fired, striking both McNelly and the officer. 

The GBI will conduct its independent investigation. Once complete, it will be turned over to the Henry County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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