Georgia Police Officer Shot and Killed at Traffic Stop was Engaged and Days Away from 25th Birthday

© Dekalb County Police Department/AP Photo
This photo released by the Dekalb County Police Department shows DeKalb County Police Officer Edgar Isidro Flores. Flores was gunned down after a traffic stop and foot chase east of Atlanta, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

A DeKalb County officer killed in the line of duty Thursday was a rookie cop who had been with the department a little over a year.

Edgar Isidro Flores, 24, took gunfire while pursuing a man who ran from a traffic stop on Candler Road near I-20 about 5 p.m., according to police. He was shot multiple times when the man, identified by the GBI as 33-year-old Brandon Taylor of Decatur, pulled out a handgun.

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Flores was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was at the beginning of his law enforcement career, hired by the police department on May 8, 2017, and a graduate of the Nov. 4, 2017, police academy class, the county said Friday morning in a statement.

He had great promise, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said. Flores was engaged to be married and just days away from celebrating his 25th birthday this weekend.

“Our prayers go out to him and his family and to the men and women of DeKalb County, and all across the state and this nation, who put their lives on the line, every day, to keep us safe,” Thurmond said.

He was also an alumnus of the University of North Georgia, having graduated magna cum laude in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, the university said in a Facebook post.

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When Flores went down, it set off a massive manhunt for his alleged shooter involving county SWAT officers and a police dog.

Taylor was eventually found hiding in a pile of tires behind a business on Candler Road, about a block away from the initial traffic stop, GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said Friday.

“When confronted, Taylor fired his weapon, striking the K9,” Ammons said in a news release. “Three DKPD SWAT officers fired at Taylor. Taylor was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

The police dog, a 7-year-old shepherd named Indi, was taken to a local veterinarian for treatment and rushed into surgery. Indi was shot in the eye, and the bullet exited through his ear without causing significant brain damage. He was stable Friday afternoon, Ammons said.

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The GBI is conducting an investigation into the deadly shooting.

Flores was the fifth Georgia officer killed in the line of duty this year, and the 31st DeKalb police officer to be killed on the job. The last DeKalb officer killed in the line of duty was Master Patrol Officer Kevin Jermaine Toatley, who died in a car crash on Sept. 19, 2015.

At a news conference Thursday night, DeKalb police Chief James Conroy commended his officers for the way they handled a very tough call.

“I am very proud of the men and women of the police department,” Conroy said. “They responded to the scene, were able to track the suspect, they did their job. And all while this was going on, the officers continued throughout the county providing services to the citizens of DeKalb.”

Governor-elect Brian Kemp tweeted his condolences for the officer, saying, “We are forever grateful for his service and sacrifice. Our prayers are with those who mourn.”

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GoFundMe page has been set up to help Flores’ fiancee, Lizandra Mora, pay for his funeral and other pending bills. As of Friday evening, it had raised a little more than $2,500.

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SOURCE: AJC, by Zachary Hansen and Chelsea Prince,