Atlanta, GA – The wife of the Henry County police officer who was shot in the face during an altercation at a dentist’s office in early December faced a medical emergency of her own on Friday, when she collapsed while visiting her wounded husband at the rehabilitation center.
She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was diagnosed as having “blood clots,” Chief Amerman explained.
“She had to have an emergency procedure…which was successful, but she is admitted to the hospital and she’s going to be there for several days while she’s recovering,” he said.
Although Officer Smith’s condition has continued to improve during the past couple of weeks, the entire ordeal has been a struggle for him, his family, and his department.
“Yesterday, he took 10 steps, which is really encouraging,” Chief Amerman said. “Your thoughts and prayers going out to him are very much appreciated. I want to let you know that it’s working.”
"Truly the Smith family is being tested, so I'm asking the community to please continue to send your thoughts and prayers to [them], as they both now are recovering," the chief added.
A fundraiser established to help Officer Smith during his recovery had raised over $21,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Officer Smith, 32, was critically wounded on Dec. 6, after he responded to a report of a disturbance at Smile Creators Family and Cosmetic Dentistry just after 8 a.m., The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) spokesperson Natalie Ammons, 53-year-old Dimaggio McNelly pulled up to the dentist’s office in a red van, then stormed inside.
McNelly did not have an appointment, and the office staff did not know him or why he came in, Ammons said.
Charmaine Stallworth told WSB that she was sitting in the waiting room with her 4-year-old son when McNelly walked in, and that she instantly felt uneasy.
“Just the way that he came in to go to the back of the office area without someone walking you back," Stallworth explained. “I knew this was not a good scene. The whole situation was just very odd.”
Office staff escorted McNelly back to the waiting area, where he sat down an wrote a note, Stallworth told WSB.
The employees then told him that doctor was in the middle of a two-hour procedure, at which point he began threatening them and tried to shove past them.
“I grabbed my stuff, my son, and I told him to run,” Stallworth told WSB.
The employees called 911, and Officer Smith was the first to arrive at the scene.
The seven-year veteran of the force tried speaking with the suspect for a bit, but McNelly ultimately became combative, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Officer Smith deployed his Taser multiple times during the encounter, but it “proved ineffective,” Ammons explained.
McNelly lunged at Officer Smith, leading to a physical altercation.
During the tussle, a single shot rang out.
“With that one shot, both the officer and the suspect were struck,” Ammons said.
McNelly died at the scene, GBI said in a press release.
The investigation into how the shooting occurred and who fired the weapon is ongoing, Ammons said.
Investigators did not recover a gun from the suspect, and said it was possible that the round was fired by Officer Smith’s duty weapon, Henry County Police Captain Joey Smith said during the press conference.
The autopsy and additional forensic examinations will hopefully show exactly what it was that occurred,” Ammons said, according to WAGA.
A witness inside the office also recorded the incident with a cell phone, she added.