SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (CBS46) — “He’s more than my partner, he’s my best friend,” said Lee’s handler, Officer E. Reeves.

Officer Reeves spent the morning with K9 Officer Jerry Lee at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital before he went into surgery.

K9 Officer Lee

“I’m hoping my boy can walk, and be back home with his family,” Officer Reeves added.

Multiple agencies including Austell Police Department’s K9 “Jerry Lee” helped find a man who got out of his car to avoid a traffic stop at Chapel Hill Road near the I20 exit just after 2 a.m. on Sunday, blocking traffic into Atlanta for hours.

Deputies pursued the car, but then the car stopped, and the driver got out of the vehicle and fled the scene on foot.

Officers set up a perimeter and were able to locate the driver.

“Jerry Lee actually found the suspect in the woods,” said Austell Police Department Chief Bob Starrett.

Shots were fired between the man and police. During the incident, K9 Lee was struck once in his front left leg during the crossfire, and underwent surgery Monday morning for his injuries.

“He was shot in the left front leg, with major damage, and they’re doing reconstructive surgery,” Chief Starrett added.

Officer Reeves and Jerry Lee

“He probably saved my life that night…and I don’t know how to thank him,” Officer Reeves said.

“I really feel like Officer Reeves is alive because of Jerry Lee…Jerry Lee took a bullet for Officer Reeves, without a doubt, he saved his life,” added Chief Starrett.

The Austell Police Department said the overwhelming support from the community is helping them get through this.

“We really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers, we really do, it means a lot,” said Chief Starrett.

Doctors are hopeful Jerry Lee will be able to walk again but are unsure if he’ll ever work again.

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