Valdosta officer recalls attack, talks about recovery

Published: Jul. 8, 2016 at 9:32 AM EDT
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By: Noelani Mathews

August 5, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) – Just a month ago, Valdosta officer Randall Hancock responded to what seemed like a routine call, only to be ambushed.

"Incredible, incredible shock. I was like I can't believe this just happened”, says Hancock.

He recalls those shocking moments that are still fresh in his mind.

"I still remember the sight out of the back of the ambulance."

Hancock remembers a lot from that day, like his promise to his wife.

"I was letting her know just like I always do. I'll be careful today, I promise."

Hancock never knowing that his first call of the day could’ve been his last.

Moments after the attack, he says, came another shock.

"He told me 'Dad, I know, he's down'”, says Hancock. “I didn't hear the dad part, just that he was down."

His son, Jonathan, was first at the scene. He’s also an officer.

In Hancock’s body cam footage, he’s the one wearing red.

He was off-duty that day, and lives at Three Oaks Apartments.

His son came running after hearing gunfire to find his own dad shot.

"I started watching him with two sets of eyes. It was absolutely amazing."

He was looking at Jonathan as an officer and as a dad, while watching the role of hero suddenly switch.

Hancock says he also wasn't expecting dozens of cards filling his mailbox from all across the country.

"That is the single most important thing that has occurred from this incident is the out pour from the community”, says Hancock

Something, he says, he will always remember and look back on.

"Don't take the love you have for your family and your husband and your children for granted”, says Myra Hancock, his wife. “It can be taken away."

The heart behind the badge – the Hancock family now moving forward.

By: Noelani Mathews

July 29, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Officer Randall Hancock was responding to a 911 call at the Three Oaks Apartments, when gunfire rang out.

Although it happened three weeks ago, new body camera video takes you right back to those dramatic moments.

The view is from Officer Hancock's body camera, moments after the shooting.

He's rushing to confront Stephen Beck, before police say he shot the officer three times.

It happened Jul. 8, after authorities say Beck, in a state of depression, placed a fake 911 call.

He ambushed the officer, hoping to be killed.

Next, you see Officer Hancock in the ambulance, being treated for his wounds.

After you see Beck hauled away by ambulance as well.

"Imagine, you're trying to continue your job and at the same time you're dealing with being shot," says Chief Brian Childress, with the Valdosta Police Department. "I just can't imagine the stress going on. To suck that in and restrain, that personally must have been a very intense moment for Officer Hancock, but he did a fantastic job."

In the clips, you can also see the tension among the officers.

They train all the time for situations like this, but the Chief says, until it happens you never know how you'll respond.

After replaying the video, he's happy that everyone survived and is recovering.

These clips are still evidence in an open investigation.

We will continue update you with the latest, as more information becomes available.

Next week, Eyewitness News Reporter Noelani Mathews is set to sit down with Officer Hancock as he reflects on what happened, and his recovery.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 14, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The suspect who police say made a phony 911 call before ambushing a Valdosta Police officer has been charged.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirms that 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck made his first appearance before a Lowndes County Magistrate Judge on Friday from South Georgia Medical Center, where he remains hospitalized.

Beck has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and attempted murder of a peace officer.

Bond has been denied on all counts.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 14, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta Police Department reports that Officer Randall Hancock, who was shot multiple times on July 8th, was released from the hospital Friday.

The GBI says that the shooting suspect, 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck, called 911 last week to report a vehicle break-in at the Three Oaks Apartments in Valdosta. Beck then ambushed and fired at the responding officer, Randall Hancock.

Hancock was shot at least twice in his protective vest and once in the stomach. Hancock fired back and shot Beck.

The GBI says that charges of aggravated assault on a police officer are pending against Beck, who remains hospitalized.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 11, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says that a man who called 911 and ambushed the responding Valdosta police officer told them he wanted to die.

According to GBI Stephen Beck, 22, told investigators that he suffers from depression and 'has no hatred for police.' Beck also told authorities that he called 911 and shot Officer Randall Hancock because he wanted to be shot and killed by police.

Investigators say that Beck called 911 and said that his car had been broken into. Beck allegedly fired at officer Hancock as he responded to the scene, striking him twice in a protective vest and once in the abdomen.

Officer Hancock was able to return fire, striking Beck.

The officer remains hospitalized but in stable condition, according to GBI. Beck also remains hospitalized, according to investigators. He's in stable condition and remains under medical supervision.

GBI says that charges of aggravated assault on a police officer are pending against Beck.

By: Erin Lisch

July 8, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- In the wake of nationwide violence, a local police officer is ambushed and shot. Valdosta Police Officer Randall Hancock is recovering tonight after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says he was shot by 22-year-old Stephen Beck.

It happened around 8 o’clock Friday morning at the Three Oaks apartments. The GBI says Beck made a phony 911 call and Officer Hancock responded.

They say Beck ambushed and shot Hancock as he got out of his squad car. Hancock was hit at least twice in his protective vest and once in the stomach. Hancock fired back and shot Beck.

Hancock is in stable condition. Beck is in serious condition.

So far, there's no official word on a motive.

Today, we spoke with residents of the apartment complex where the shooting occurred. Residents told us if a crime like this can happen in Valdosta, it could happen anywhere.

Residents say what started off as a typical, quiet Friday morning at the Three Oaks apartment complex took an unexpected and violent turn.

"All I saw were police cars. When I left they were lined up and down the drive area and tape surrounded by everything," says resident Jessica Wynne.

This event is shocking the community.

Resident Christy Jackson says, "The shooting occurred just feet from my car. So had we have been running late or something like that, it could’ve ended differently... It's just scary."

Resident Marcus Mayweather says, "It's kind of scary because I live here, and it's like, you see it happening on the news and it's like, you never think it could happen to you.”

Resident Dallas Carroll says, "It’s bad. I mean, you wouldn't think that something would happen around where you're from and where you’re living, but it can happen anywhere."

Happening in a place many call home, and to those working to keep the community safe.

Mayweather says, "It’s kind of frightening to say that our police officers are being shot now."

Wynne adds, "It’s very scary to know that someone could actually think about taking the life of someone who serves and protects us."

A plan to kill an officer, leaves the entire Valdosta community fearful.

The residents we spoke to Friday told us they do plan on staying at the apartment complex.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 8, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released new details regarding an officer-involved shooting this morning in Valdosta.

The GBI says that the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Stephen Paul Beck, called 911 on Friday morning to report a vehicle break-in and then ambushed and fired at the responding officer upon arrival.

A press release from GBI reads:

On Friday, July 08, 2016, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Valdosta Police Department to investigate an officer involved shooting incident that occurred at Three Oaks Apartments in Valdosta. Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 7:54 AM, Valdosta Police Officer Randall Hancock was dispatched to the apartment complex regarding a vehicle break-in and damage to property call. The caller, identified as Stephen Paul Beck, age 22, reported that his car had been broken into and needed police to respond. At approximately 8:12 AM, Officer Hancock arrived at the apartment complex. Upon exiting his patrol car, Officer Hancock was fired upon, striking him at least twice in his protective vest and once beneath the vest in the abdomen area. Officer Hancock returned fire, striking the individual and stopping him from firing at him. The individual was unknown to Officer Hancock at the time of the encounter and it was later determined the individual was Beck, the 911 caller. Officer Hancock was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and is in stable condition. Beck was also transported to an area hospital where he remains in serious condition. The investigation is ongoing as agents are looking for a 2009 silver Nissan Sentra, Georgia Tag PVW 8141, belonging to Beck. Anyone with information about the location of the vehicle is asked to call the Valdosta Police Department at 229-293-3145 or the Thomasville GBI Regional Office at 229-225-4090. The motive behind the shooting is unknown at this time. There is no indication of a connection to the police shootings in Dallas, Texas. The GBI will conduct an independent investigation to determine what occurred during the incident. When the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 8, 2016 - 12 p.m.

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- An officer with the Valdosta Police Department and a suspect have both been hospitalized after they exchanged gunfire Friday morning.

According to VPD Chief Brian Childress, Officer Randall Hancock responded to a report of a vehicle break-in around 8 a.m. Friday morning.

About 15 minutes later, Hancock called over the radio that he had been shot multiple times, Childress said at a press conference just after noon on Friday.

Hancock was reportedly wearing a bulletproof vest.

Police say the suspect was an Asian male but had not released his identity. He was shot by Hancock during the exchange of gunfire.

Hancock was taken to South Georgia Medical Center and underwent surgery. He's currently in stable condition in the ICU.

The male suspect was also taken to SGMC before being transported to a hospital in Florida. He is in stable condition and is expected to recover.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene and has taken the lead on the investigation.

According to Childress, GBI is still investigating.

Childress says that Officer Hancock has been with the department for ten years and is also an armed forces veteran.

The shooting incident comes less than 12 hours after five officers were killed and seven were wounded in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas.

Childress did say that he was worried after he received the call about today's shooting incident considering what occurred in Dallas.

Childress says that a motive hasn't been identified yet.

No further details are available at this time.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

July 8, 2016

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Several law enforcement agencies responded to an officer-involved shooting Friday morning at a Valdosta apartment complex.

According to City of Valdosta spokesperson Sementha Mathews, a Valdosta police officer responded to a property damage call at Three Oaks Apartments around 8 a.m. Friday.

The officer encountered a male in the parking lot and gunfire was exchanged between the two, Mathews says.

VPD chief Brian Childress says the the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is taking over the shooting investigation.

The status of the officer and suspect are not available at this time.

The Valdosta Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, and Georgia State Patrol are currently on scene at Three Oaks apartments.

Authorities are not letting anyone but residents in to or out of the apartment complex at this time and are checking for proof of residency upon entrance and exit.

No further details are available at this time. This is a developing story.

WCTV is at the scene and will update this story as more details become available.