ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The man who opened fire on an Alpharetta police officer April 12 and was eventually killed by police was disturbed and heavily in debt, say neighbors.
Neighbors of Curtis Hicks, 52, of Oak Harbor Trail in Marietta, told media the man had fallen behind on his homeowners’ association dues, with nearly $10,000 due in back pay. His truck was towed a week ago in an effort to make him pay.
Hicks was quiet and kept to himself, with some neighbors and police describing him in local media as “mentally ill.”
Cobb County police who attempted to deliver the lawsuit to Hicks could not find him and reported he was gone for months.
Alpharetta and Marietta police joined with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation bomb squad to search Hicks’ home April 15 after they suspected explosives inside. No explosives were found. Investigators are collecting evidence from his home in hopes of determining a motive for Hicks’ actions.
According to Alpharetta police, Hicks was pulled over on Ga. 9 (Main Street) in Alpharetta at 8:30 p.m. April 12 for a tag violation. When Alpharetta Police Officer David Freeman approached the Isuzu truck, Hicks pulled out a gun and opened fire. Freeman was struck five times – in his lower abdomen, right elbow, right shoulder, right thigh and a graze to his back – before Hicks took off southbound on Ga. 9.
Freeman returned fire and was able to call in his injuries and give a description of the vehicle. Firefighters arrived on scene within two minutes and transported Freeman to North Fulton Hospital where he was listed in stable condition before his release Monday afternoon.
“We’re very grateful for that,” said Alpharetta Public Safety Spokesman George Gordon. “Our 911 staff started the lifesaving chain of events. Our fire department responders quickly arrived on scene and provided the key lifesaving medical treatment which sustained our officer until his transport to the North Fulton Hospital emergency room.”
A Roswell police car spotted Hicks’ vehicle near Andretti’s Racing on Ga. 9 and Houze Way. The officer waited until backup could arrive before he attempted to pull Hicks over.
When the blue lights went on, Hicks began firing at the police as he fled down Ga. 9, said Roswell Police Spokeswoman Lisa Holland. Police say Hicks had several weapons in the truck with him, although they declined to say what types.
“While they were going down the road, [Hicks] was shooting at our cars,” said Holland. “Every one of those police cars that were involved in the chase, the bullet holes went right through the windshield. Had the officer not ducked, he would have died.”
One bystander was injured by Hicks’ shooting, a female driver on Holcomb Bridge Road. She was injured in the hip and taken to North Fulton Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The chase went down Alpharetta Highway and onto Holcomb Bridge Road before Hicks turned onto Ga. 400 southbound.
With Alpharetta police joining in on the chase, police pursued Hicks to Northridge Drive, where his car crashed. As he got out of the vehicle, he engaged in a shootout with the pursuing officers. Roswell and Alpharetta police officers returned fire, killing Hicks.
The GBI was called in to take charge of the investigation as is required in an officer-involved fatal shooting. One Roswell officer and five Alpharetta officers were placed on administrative leave following the shooting, as is standard practice when there is a shooting. Freeman was one of those officers.
“This horrific incident illustrates how dangerous the law enforcement occupation can be,” said Alpharetta Public Safety Director Gary George. “It also brings out the very best of those dedicated professionals that serve us each and every day. I am so grateful that our officer will recover and I thank everyone involved in this incident for their efforts.”