Witnesses indicated the man was initially destroying property alongside a boy, presumed to be his son, and had called out for people to kill him.
The man, later identified by GPD Lt. Kevin Holbrook as 34-year-old Darrion Suave Fraley, passed by the nearby apartment complex and went into the adjacent neighborhood. Lt. Kevin Holbrook noted that Fraley's behavior had been "erratic," and it "looked like he kicked over a motorcycle (and) damaged a couple of vehicles."
Fraley encountered two female medics loading a patient into an ambulance.
Fraley, still wielding what one witness described as steak knives, allegedly threatened the medics and chased one down.
With the EMTs' lives potentially at risk, an armed neighbor intervened.
A woman claiming to be the armed neighbor's stepmother told WSB-TV that he is a military veteran and "came running back inside to get the weapon because the gentlemen started coming into our driveway."
When the veteran returned outside with his gun, Fraley allegedly turned his attention from the medics to the veteran and attacked him. The veteran responded by opening fire, hitting his attacker multiple times.
John Morea, a local resident, woke to the crackle of gunshots. "It was about four shots," he recalled. "Somebody outside popped him, and that was it."
The veteran's stepmother noted, "It's not what he planned to do this morning, but when someone comes at you, and it's between you and them ... his military training kicked in." She added: "You do what you do to protect you and yours."
According to Holbrook, after Fraley was shot, "He took the gun from the individual that shot him and attempted to use it by shooting him," but there were reportedly no more bullets in the gun.
Fraley was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in critical condition. He has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of obstruction of an EMT, possession of a firearm, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime, and aggravated assault.
Fraley's family later told KVVU that he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and that the incident was result of an imbalance in his medication.
In a newly released 911 call, his mother told police Fraley had been "talking about killing people."
The armed neighbor suffered minor injuries and is not presently facing charges.
The ability of all law-abiding Americans in the state of Georgia to everywhere protect themselves, as the veteran did in Gainesville, is presently in contention.
Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat candidate for governor, if elected, would repeal Republican Gov. Brian Kemp's "Constitutional Carry" law, thereby requiring lawful weapons carriers to have a Georgia weapons carry license to carry a firearm and further restricting the carrying of firearms in parks, historic sites, and recreational areas.
Abrams stated earlier this year, "I will work with every single person I can to repeal these senseless gun laws we've put on the books in the last decade."
Kemp, on the other hand, argued, "What we need to do is give law-abiding citizens the ability to carry a handgun without a piece of paper from the government. Which they have in the United States Constitution with the Second Amendment."