COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Governor Nathan Deal is calling the Georgia State Patrol trooper injured in Wednesday night's Interstate 75 shootout a hero. Georgia State Patrol says Trooper Jacob Fields is recuperating.
Trooper Fields was shot twice, once in the leg and once in the abdomen, after a 10-mile chase on I-75 ended in a shooting. He was one of three troopers involved in the shooting, which resulted in the death of 26-year-old suspect Israel Vladimir Rodriguez, of Acworth.
Fields, who is at Kennestone Hospital, is expected to make a full recovery. Friday morning, Governor Deal stopped by the hospital to thank the trooper for his service.
The chase ended just before 4:00 p.m on Wednesday. Investigators said the troopers attempted to pull over Rodriguez for speeding on I-75 near Chastain Parkway, but he ended up leading them on a chase. He eventually rear-ended a car in front of him near the South 120 Loop and Delk Road and was forced to stop. The woman driving that car is said to be okay.
Investigators said Rodriguez got out of the vehicle with a gun and started shooting at the three troopers, who all returned fire. Rodriguez was also taken to Kennestone Hospital, where he later died.
FOX 5 News has learned Rodriguez was arrested eight years ago for reckless driving and following too closely.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 were shut down following the chase and shooting. Officials blocked off Interstate 75 South at S. Marietta Parkway for most of the night, but one lane of traffic was opened around 8:30 p.m. The interstate reopened completely around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Sheriff's deputies from around the state who were attending a training session Wednesday afternoon paused to pray for the trooper who was wounded.
During a press conference, Trooper Jacob Fields was described as a three-year veteran with the Georgia State Patrol. Captain Mark Perry with the GSP said Trooper Fields' father was a well-known GSP civilian employee.