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Christian Eppinger, a gang member accused of shooting an Atlanta policeman six times, has been released on bond.
Eppinger, 22, reportedly shot an officer six times in an altercation outside Colonial Square Apartments in Atlanta, Georgia, as the police were serving an arrest warrant.
The suspect was denied bond immediately after the shooting, but a new ruling on Tuesday reversed that decision. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is set to host a press conference Wednesday with Police Chief Rodney Bryant to address the bond agreement.
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“He will have a long road of recovery before him,” Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said during a February press briefing. “…What happened today is the challenge that we are against here in Atlanta and in cities across this country, where individuals are heavily armed … and are released into our communities. It causes harm to police officers, who are being assaulted at record levels across the country and placed in communities with imminent harm.”
The downtown skyline in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
(Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Officer David Rodgers, who has been with the department since 2011, was pursuing 22-year-old suspect Christian Eppinger, wanted for an October 2021 aggravated assault and robbery, at an apartment complex on Old Hapeville Road on Monday around 1:15 p.m. An 11-year veteran officer of the Atlanta Police Department, Rodgers was hit six times while executing the warrant. After Eppinger allegedly opened fire on Rodgers, another officer began returning gunfire. Eppinger was not hit.
Eppinger then fled into the apartment complex, where police located and arrested him “in short order,” according to Schierbaum.
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Eppinger’s warrant stems from an October 2021 incident in which he and another suspect approached victim Darius Smith in a park and demanded he hand over his “chain,” according to an Oct. 12 police report. He is reportedly a member of “Young Slime Life” – a street gang brandishing Y-S-L tattoos and emblems inspired by high-fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent.
“The victim stated that one suspect had his firearm pointed against his head while the other had his weapon pointed against his ribs. The suspects then stole his diamond earrings, diamond and gold necklace, two iPhones, and his car keys” before fleeing, the police report states.
So far in 2022, six police officers have been fatally shot on the job, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks officer line-of-duty deaths. More police officers were feloniously killed in 2021 than any previous year since 1995.