26-year-old man in critical condition after shootout with Georgia deputy

A 26-year-old man suspected of stealing a car is in critical condition following a shootout with a Coweta County deputy.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, preliminary information indicates that at about 12:58 a.m. Sunday, Newnan Police Department officers were flagged down by a man at the Racetrac gas station located at 1 Amlajack Blvd, Newnan. 

Officers learned that a suspect, later identified as 26-year-old Mario Paul Clarke, was driving away with the man’s silver 2015 Chrysler 200. 

Officers began pursuing the vehicle out of the RaceTrac parking lot, and a chase ensued on I-85 northbound. Clarke came to a stop near mile marker 48 and got out of the vehicle and ran into a wooded area toward PetSmart.  Officers and deputies began searching for Clarke with no contact. Felony arrest warrants were taken on Clarke for theft by taking, obstruction, and fleeing and attempting to elude. 

Officers and deputies continued to search and check the area where Clarke was last seen. While patrolling the area, deputies and officers observed Clarke on foot near Industrial Park and he ran away again. 

According to the GBI, a Newnan police officer deployed his taser twice at Clarke, but the taser was ineffective. A K-9 was deployed, and deputies and officers began tracking and searching the area for Clarke. 

Clarke left the woods and passed the front of a Coweta County Deputy’s patrol vehicle at Whitlock Recreation Complex, and the deputy deployed his taser once from his vehicle. That taser was also ineffective.

According to the GBI, Clarke then pointed a handgun, later identified as a Glock 26 9mm, and fired at the deputy, striking the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy returned fire multiple times, shooting Clarke.

Clarke was life-flighted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta for his injuries and is reportedly in critical condition.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. Once the investigation is completed, the case file will be turned over to the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office for review. 

Anyone with information regarding this investigation may contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Regional Investigative Office in Columbus at (706) 565-7888. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1(800) 597-TIPS (8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

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