Officer dragged to death behind car, suspect killed at Holly Springs traffic stop


A Holly Springs Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty Wednesday night in what authorities said began as a traffic stop that turned into a shootout involving an officer

Constable Joe Burson died after being dragged by the suspect’s car during the stop, according to GBI and Holly Springs Police officials.

The incident happened around 11 p.m. on Harmony Lake Drive and Hickory Road. According to the GBI, while Constable Burson was dragged along, he managed to shoot and kill the driver, identified as Ansy Dolce, 29, of Cherokee County.

“It was just a simple shutdown and in the end it could have been avoided,” said Holly Springs Police Chief Tommy Keheley.

Chief Keheley said a shift supervisor was also present for the traffic stop due to speeding.

The investigation into the death of the officer and the suspect is being conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI said it would examine the body camera video to piece together a timeline of events and find out what led to the shooting.

An autopsy will also be carried out by the GBI Crime Lab on Burson’s body.

Officer Joe Burson (right) pictured with his wife. The Holly Springs Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty. (Source: TS Media)

Officer Joe Burson: A “model officer”

“Joe Burson, a 25-year-old new cop, has been on the road for a year to a year and a half,” said Chief Keheley.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Chief Keheley said Burson was the type of officer any chief wishes he could “clone”.

“He was a model officer. If you had the ability to clone police officers, you would have wanted your officer to be Joe Burson,” Keheley said. “It was not uncommon for him to take time to spend with the children. If anyone wanted to bring his kid through the department, Joe was always available to let him sit in his car, ask him questions, turn on the blue lights, things. of this nature. “

Keheley said he met the officer’s wife, from nearby Ball Ground, overnight. Burson was originally hired and trained by Holly Springs, his first police employer.

Family friends told FOX 5 News that Burson drummed in a band in his spare time. He also loved the outdoors. A friend and his family said Burson was also very active in his church. But perhaps it is his love of service to his community that his leader says he will be remembered for.

“It’s the worst day in a job for a police chief,” Keheley said.

Burson, 25, of Ball Ground, is survived by his wife.

Grieving Cherokee County Community

“When it’s so close to the community, it hits you hard,” said Leah Richards

Richards was just one of hundreds who stopped by the Holly Springs Police Department headquarters to leave flowers, notes, candles and prayers on Thursday. It was a touching display of support for Constable Burson’s family and the entire police department.

“Heartbroken for the family. Heartbroken for the police department because they’re all family, I know how close they are. It’s just tragic,” said Richards, who came by. with his family to lay flowers.

Several Cherokee County fire trucks arrived in the afternoon to pay their respects and leave a blue wreath at the base of the flag in front of the police department.

Many residents of the Metro Atlanta area have changed their profile photos on social media to match the Holly Springs Police Department’s Facebook page, in a show of support and solidarity.

“We thank you for his sacrifice to our community, for keeping us safe, for his bravery at a time when I am sure was an incredible fear,” Senior Pastor Jason Gerdes told his congregation.

On Thursday evening, many Holly Springs residents gathered in song and prayer at the Canton Revolution Church.

“I can’t imagine… just the grief of Marykate and Joe’s parents and knowing that he won’t be coming home today. So help me pray for them, ask yourself to comfort them,” prayed Pastor Gerdes. “They have embarked on a journey they never imagined they would have to take.”

Even though Burson left his earthly home, his pastor said this congregation finds comfort in knowing that he is now at home with the Lord.

“You did what was necessary to save Joe and he trusted you,” the pastor prayed.

The Holly Springs Police Foundation has established a online account on his site to raise money for Agent Burson’s family.

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