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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / East Ridge Police officers take cover after several shots were fired near Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Rossville, Georgia. The standoff, which started after East Ridge Police Corporal Terry Prescott was shot during a routine traffic stop Sunday, Prescott is considered to be in stable condition.

This story has been updated at 12:20 p.m. on Monday with more information.

The man police believe shot an East Ridge officer during a traffic stop Sunday was shot and killed in a shootout with law enforcement agents Monday morning.

Christopher J. Kitts, 43, was found in the Rossville, Georgia, area Monday by multiple law enforcement agencies after a lengthy search. When he was found, Kitts engaged officers with gunfire and was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Sunday at about 1:50 p.m., Kitts was pulled over in the parking lot of the CVS pharmacy on Ringgold Road.

East Ridge Chief of Police Stan Allen said Kitts jumped out of a red Dodge Challenger with white stripes, fired several shots at the patrol car before the officer, identified as Corp. Terry Prescott, could get out of it. Kitts then took off in the Challenger.

The Challenger was found in the Lynnwood subdivision off Paige Road in Rossville at about 3 p.m., authorities said. Officers from multiple Georgia and Tennessee agencies then started to search for the suspect.

According to a news release from Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, a K-9 unit tracked Kitts into a wooded area near Old Lakeview Drive and Black Branch Creek, where he began shooting at pursuing officers with a high-powered rifle.

No one was hit during the first shootout. Kitts also shot at a drone that was surveilling the area periodically, Sisk said.

When the sun went down, Kitts went deeper into a 168-acre, heavily wooded area, the sheriff said.

Sisk said Kitts was tracked for 11 hours using air support, tactical teams and officers and agents from local, state and federal agencies.

Troopers with a Georgia State Patrol SWAT unit eventually cornered and engaged Kitts behind a home on Glade Road in Rossville.

Sheriff Sisk said Kitts refused to follow lawful commands and again tried to shoot at law enforcement officers when he was cornered. Officers returned fire, and Kitts was shot.

Octavio Cruz was visiting his parents Sunday when the commotion started in the neighborhood. 

He said other neighbors told him that the suspect "hit a donut" in a small cul de sac before speeding off toward the end of Millford Drive where he abandoned his bright red Dodge Challenger.

"I guess he tried to figure out where to jump out at because I guess he figured that cul de sac wasn't the best one," Cruz said.

Thomas Hash, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years, was watching football Sunday afternoon just before the suspect and police flooded his quiet street.

"Stuff like that doesn't happen so much out here," he said.

The last time something notable happened in his neighborhood was about 10 years ago when a shooting took place a few houses up the road, he said.

Several other neighbors gathered in their front yards or porches to watch the events unfold. 

Another neighbor said she heard the suspect vehicle barrelling down their Millford Drive.

"We were in the backyard, and after we heard it, then we could hear the police coming," she said. "I was like, 'They're in the front yard.' And after we come out, then I seen the car." 

"Thanks to the support from multiple Georgia, Tennessee and federal law enforcement officers, we were able to prevent Kitts from eluding capture," Sisk said in statement. "We appreciate everyone's efforts to work together and prevent an already bad situation from escalating even further."

Officer Prescott is hospitalized at Erlanger in stable condition, police said.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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