LITHONIA, Ga. -- The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office tells WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News a deputy opened fire on a man wanted for murder in the parking lot of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Wednesday afternoon.
The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy is OK.
According to Lt. Kyle Jones of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, the deputy was pursuing Nicholas Clarence Wade, 27, on a murder warrant. Wade pointed a sawed-off shotgun at the deputy and another deputy shot the suspect.
Wade was accused in the death of an 18-month-old.
A spokesperson for the church said the shooting is unrelated to the church. The church said deputies chased Wade onto church property where the shooting occurred.
“For whatever reason Mr. Wade decided to come down to the church, thought this was the most ideal situation to facilitate the takedown,” said Dekalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown.
Deputies say Wade pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, pointed the gun at deputies and then deputies fired back.
Wade was shot several times. He was transported to DeKalb Medical Center in stable condition.
Authorities said parents of children at the church's school can pick them up in the parking lot. Administrators told Channel 2's Liz Artz the school was on lockdown for 30 minutes.
According to a police report, Wade claimed he heard a noise and noticed his girlfriend's 18-month-old boy, Keon Belk, was not breathing.
Police later charge Wade with murder after discovering the baby died from internal injuries and a fractured skull.
“I went to school with him but I never thought he was the type of person that would do something like that,” former classmate Briana Shepard said about Wade.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Channel 2 Action News was there as investigators towed the BMW SUV they say Wade was driving when deputies tried to serve a warrant on him.
"I heard about two or three gunshots and I just stood still until (I could) get out,” said witness Donise Edwards, who also had her 3-year-old with her in her van. “It was scary, it happened (all) at once, and it was so close.”
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said they expect to charge Wade with aggravated assault as well.
A man was shot at the same church in February 2011.
Video: WSB-TV Atlanta