Chuck and Lavann Landrum’s home was crushed by a giant tree in the recent tornado that swept through Newnan – the second time the house has endured tornado damage. COURTESY/Chuck Landrum
NEWNAN – Chuck Landrum must have several guardian angels assigned to him. The College Park police officer and his wife, Lavann live at 75 East Broad Street in Newnan. Well, they did live there – until their home was severely damaged by the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Newnan with wind speeds up to 170 mph shortly after midnight on Friday, March 26.
Their home will not be suitable for occupancy for months, but that is nothing new for the Landrums. Their home was also significantly damaged by a 2003 tornado that cut a devastating swath through Newnan on May 7. In the midst of adversity, the police sergeant, who is a member of Newnan’s First Baptist Church, appears to be incredibly resilient and obviously takes trials and tribulations with as much grace and calm as an action hero who is impervious to pain.
In addition to surviving two tornados, Landrum survived a gunshot wound in the line of duty on April 4, 2020. The Police Sergeant was shot in the neck following the pursuit of a man suspected of three murders.
Landrum, who is the commander of the traffic division for CPPD received a license plate alert on a stolen vehicle that had been used in a homicide. That is when the chase began with Georgia State Patrol troopers, officers from the Hapeville Police Department and Landrum and some of his colleagues in hot pursuit of the suspect.
With 10 or 12 patrol cars involved in the chase, the suspect would periodically slow down and then speed up as the pursuit went through several jurisdictions. Landrum recalled, “At one point, he stopped, got out of his car to shoot the oncoming patrol vehicles, but the magazine fell out of his gun, so he quickly got back in his car and sped away.”
The camera in Landrum’s vehicle recorded him gaining on the alleged felon. He explained, “I was determined to stop him and make sure he did not take another life.”
At the intersection of Toffie Terrace and North Inner Loop Road in East Point the suspect wrecked his vehicle. Landrum stated, “I rammed his vehicle going about 50 mph with the intent of disabling it and suddenly I felt something rub across my neck but didn’t realize I had been shot. Then I saw the bullet hole in my windshield, saw the blood flowing from my neck and knew I had been shot.
“By this time all of the cars in pursuit had arrived at the site of the crash, the suspect was apprehended and two of my fellow officers, Lt. Cody Smith and Sgt. Steven Dunn, came to my aid. I heard one of them calling Signal 63 (the signal that an officer needs help) on his radio.
“It was then that I rolled off to the side and prayed, ‘Jesus, protect me.’ I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt the Lord come down over me. He covered me with His protective presence. It was remarkable, but very real to me.”
Landrum’s fellow officers took him to the Atlanta Medical center South for the necessary treatment and the surgical removal of the bullet. Lavann was with him in the hospital and avowed that he was sitting up in bed much of the time and his recovery progressed. Later someone asked Lavann if Chuck had gone to a psychologist for trauma therapy. She replied, “No, he didn’t go, because he was not traumatized.”
Landrum said, “Five or six months later I received an email from the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office. The email explained that the man who had been apprehended had murdered her niece and asked if I would speak to the victim’s parents. I agreed to do so.
“The young woman’s parents told the story of how their daughter went to the local Auto Zone to get a censor for her car and encountered the man they believed was the being sought by the law enforcement agencies for two murders. The man was suspected of carjacking their daughter’s vehicle and shooting her in the head the day before he was arrested. Her parents said they were glad she was killed right away to avoid a worse fate and that they had been informed that the man we had chased and caught was likely the same person who had killed their daughter.
“The couple were devout Christians who said they were praying for law enforcement agents while the chase was taking place on April 4.
“So, six months after the chase I began to realize why the magazine fell out of the suspects gun when he had us in his sight, why his car spun out of control giving me the opportunity to disable his vehicle, and why my gunshot wound only missed my carotid artery by a narrow margin. There were prayer warriors praying for God to resolve the situation.”
When you combine the prayers of God’s saints and the ministry of angels you have a protective covering that doesn’t just give you the security of “the good hands people,” but it puts you in the hands of God. Chuck Landrum was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in the line of duty. We have heard a lot in recent months about defunding the police. The men and women in blue potentially place their lives in harms way every day and should be honored and remembered daily in our prayers.