Gwinnett deputy released from hospital after being shot by suspect during chase, standoff

A Gwinnett County K9 deputy handler Master Deputy Sheriff N. Butler has been released from the hospital and he is doing very well after being shot during a standoff that followed a police chase.

More than 40 cop cars surrounded Sweetwater Road in Gwinnett County after a deputy K9 handler was shot Friday evening.

NewsChopper 2 flew over the stand-off, after the suspect barricaded himself in his car.

From the helicopter, we could see police throwing flashbangs at the car to get the suspect out.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson was at the scene all night Friday as the incident unfolded. He obtained cellphone video from witnesses where you can hear a barrage of gunfire sending neighbors near the incident ducking for cover.

“I started running across the street because I don’t want to be shot,” witness Khiri Hoover said.

Police say what started as a traffic stop for a stolen car turned into a shooting, leaving one deputy and the suspect injured.

The GBI identified the driver of the stolen car as 34-year-old James Edward Perkins. They say a woman was in the SUV with Whitley when officers spotted the stolen car around 5 p.m. in Lawrenceville. She was detained, but he escaped in the stolen SUV and led police on a chase.

“It was crazy. All of a sudden, in seconds, they were there,” witness Joe Grafmueller said about seeing all the police officers who descended on the Gwinnett County apartment complex.

Dashcam video sent to Johnson shows multiple Gwinnett County police cars chasing someone in a maroon-colored car on Pleasant Hill Road.

The chase ended at the Anzio Apartments on Sweetwater Road when Perkins tried driving between a clubhouse and an apartment building and drove up on a steep drop-off, effectively disabling the vehicle.

That’s when the shooting started.

“Seconds later there were like 50 rounds shot,” Grafmueller said.

He recorded cellphone video nearby before he and his wife were taken to safety.

The GBI says that as a K9 deputy handler approached the SUV, Perkins shot him several times. Other officers returned fire, hitting Perkins.


“I was pulled out of the apartment, she was pulled out of the window by the SWAT team,” Grafmueller said.

The Gwinnett County SWAT team moved in while police say Perkins barricaded himself in the car.

“Our negotiators were activated, officers that were off duty came in. Everyone just pretty much comes together and works as a team,” Officer Hideshi Valle with the Gwinnett County Police Department said.

By around 8:30 p.m., police announced the suspect was in custody and being taken to a hospital for potential injuries.

The deputy handler is expected to survive. Both he and Perkins are being treated at Northside Hospital Gwinnett. Perkins is listed in critical condition.

“We wish her a speedy recovery for our deputy,” Deputy Ashley Castiblanco with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called in to handle the investigation from here. Police have not said what charges the suspect may face.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas and Steve Gehlbach contributed to this article.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation previously mistakenly identified the suspect in this case as Henry Parker Whitley, which was included in a previous version of this article. This story has been updated to reflect the correct identity of the suspect. We apologize for any confusion.