Originally created 07/04/06

Across Georgia



Crime lab backlog is easing, agencies say

MACON - Law enforcement agencies around the state say they are seeing improvements in wait times for getting test results back from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab.

This comes more than a year after the backlog of cases at the crime lab reached 30,000.

Budget cuts caused the backlog, which began growing in 2003 and left law enforcement agencies complaining that it led to delays in court proceedings.

The backlog now stands at about 5,000 cases, and in most cases, the wait for results is only 30 days.

Lab Director Dan Kirk calls that an accomplishment. In the past two years, new lab workers and the outsourcing of some tests have made a difference, he said.

Liquor store owner is killed during robbery

STONE MOUNTAIN - The owner of a liquor store was killed in a shootout in his subdivision Sunday during an apparent robbery attempt.

Sashamer "Rocky" Tucker was driving home with his wife at about 1 a.m. when two armed men approached their vehicle, DeKalb County police spokesman Jason Gagnon said.

Police suspect the men might have followed the couple into their subdivision in Stone Mountain.

Police say Mr. Tucker pulled out a gun and got into a shootout with the two. He died at the scene.

Police said they were not sure whether the two attackers were wounded in the shooting. Detectives visited several hospitals looking for gunshot victims.

MARTA officer shoots man who attacked her

ATLANTA - A police officer for the department that protects the city's train system shot and wounded a man who had broken into a car in a station parking lot Monday, an agency spokeswoman said.

The female officer approached the man and he attacked her with a screwdriver, leading the officer to shoot, said Jocelyn Baker, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

The man was hit in the thigh, Ms. Baker said.

The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment after the incident at the MARTA station in Brookhaven, Ms. Baker said. The man's condition was not known.

The MARTA officer was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, Ms. Baker said.

Athens City Hall's eagle gets makeover

ATHENS - The 8-foot-wide, spread-winged eagle that stood vigil on Athens City Hall's cupola for more than a century was literally on its last leg in May when workers took it down to repair.

Riddled with bullet holes and weathered by 103 years of exposure, the copper-plated eagle had succumbed to corrosion, which had eaten away at the weather vane's iron infrastructure and part of the metal facade that made up the bird's body.

The eagle is being restored as part of a $100,000 renovation of the building's clock tower.

The 75- to 80-pound eagle likely will be returned to its roost Wednesday, officials said.

- Edited from wire reports