Sister shares details on deputy who was shot in face

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 5:02 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An overnight shooting injured a deputy during a confrontation in a neighborhood that’s already been identified as a crime hotspot.

A family member identified the deputy as Michael Cole and said the 25-year-old was shot in the face. His sister said he’s worked for the sheriff’s agency for five years.

She says he is in the ICU but is stable and that he will need reconstructive surgery.

The shooting happened early Thursday in the 2200 block of Bungalow Road, where deputies were sent to investigate a report of a disturbance.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said deputies arrived at the home at 1:41 a.m. and learned Vernon Cratic Jr., 34, of Augusta, was inside with a gun.

Two deputies entered the home to speak with Cratic, but he began firing, GBI reported.

The deputies returned fire but did not hit Cratic, although one of the deputies was shot.

Additional units responded and secured the home until the Richmond County SWAT team arrived.

Deputies began negotiations with Cratic to get him to surrender peacefully.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 2200 block of Bungalow Road in reference...
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 2200 block of Bungalow Road in reference to a disturbance call at 1:41 a.m. Thursday.(WRDW)

While negotiations were taking place, Cratic continued to shoot at law enforcement officers on the scene, according to GBI.

Around 4 a.m., Cratic surrendered.

He was taken to the Charles B. Webster Detention Center in Augusta and charged with five counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of burglary in the second degree, according to jail records.

The officer who was shot was taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where he was being treated for his injuries. His family has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for him.

No other officers were injured during the incident.

The street was still cordoned off with yellow tape on Thursday afternoon, and officers said they’d be there all day.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.

Once the GBI finishes its investigation, the case file will be given to the Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.

This is the 101st officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate in 2022, including one in Richmond County on May 26.

Bungalow Road is one of the places where deputies set up a checkpoint a few weeks ago in an effort to get guns and drugs off the streets.

The checkpoint was part of Operation GRACE, launched to target hotspots amid an outbreak of deadly crime across the CSRA that’s claimed more than 50 lives so far.