Lavonia officers discuss shooter’s plea deal

Jefferey Martin, left, and Michael Schulman, right, were wounded after a suspect opened fire during a traffic stop, the police chief said. (Courtesy: Lavonia Police Dept.)

LAVONIA, GA (WSPA) – A Greenville man accused of shooting two Lavonia Police Department officers pleaded guilty last Thursday in a Franklin County courtroom.

Khari Gordon was accused of shooting Officer Jeffery Martin and Captain Michael Schulman during a traffic stop on December 12, 2016.

“It entered in between my vest, and it shattered two ribs and punctured my lung,” said Capt. Schulman, who recorded the shooting on his body camera.

Martin said he pulled Gordon over because the car he was driving had a written out tag. Martin says he called for back up and was speaking with Gordon for three minutes in a Zaxby’s parking lot before his partner, Schulman arrived.

“He listened to what I said,” Martin said. “I didn’t have any issues with him.”

Martin says when he first pulled Gordon over he asked him to step out of the car and take his hands out of his pockets. He says Gordon complied. Martin says when he went to look for the car’s VIN number, Schulman had arrived and was talking to Gordon, who had put his hands back in his pockets.

“I asked him if he had any weapons on him,” Schulman said. “He handed me a couple pocket knives, kind of distracted me.”

It was then that dispatch radioed to tell them the car had been stolen from a Domino’s Pizza in Greer. At the same time, the officers say Gordon pulled a gun from his waistband and shot them both.

“He was so calm, but in the back of his mind he had a plan,” Martin said.

The body camera footage shows Gordon shooting Schulman first. Martin witnessed his partner go down before the gun was pulled on him.

“He shot me in my right hand, and that was my draw hand,” Martin said.

The bullet lodged in his hand, leaving him defenseless.

“Not able to fight back, that’s something I take to my heart, and that’s something I don’t ever want to happen again,” Martin said.

The Franklin County Clerk of Court’s Office confirmed Gordon pleaded guilty in court to two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer with intent to murder, two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, bringing stolen property into the state of Georgia and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The judge gave Gordon a 100 year sentence with 50 of those served in prison.

Schulman said he spoke to Gordon before he left the courtroom Thursday. “I told him, I said, we’re two lucky individuals. I’m lucky to be alive, and you’re lucky this wasn’t a murder trial, and that’s how I ended it.”

The two officers say they’re blessed, but the experience has motivated them to approach traffic stops and their daily work differently.

“It makes me more prepared on a stop to know that the worst thing can happen, and it’s already happened to me,” Martin said.

The DA’s office said Gordon was also banned from the state of Georgia, except for Clayton County where the airport is located.

He reportedly still had the firearm he shot the officers with on him when he was arrested, and he was out on bond for an attempted murder charge in South Carolina when the incident happened.

Gordon also had four previous felony convictions in South Carolina.