BYRON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man fatally shot a sheriff's deputy and wounded a second before he was shot and injured by a police officer, authorities said Monday.
The suspect started shooting at the deputies Sunday when they responded to a call that he was using a rifle to threaten two young men visiting his neighbors just outside the city of Byron, about 16 miles southwest of Macon, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent J.T. Ricketson said.
The men, visiting their aunt and uncle's house for a cookout, were riding a motorcycle and a four-wheeler on their relatives' property, which backs up to the suspect's property. The suspect threatened them with a rifle as they rode down a nearby road, prompting the men to return to the house and call 911.
Two Peach County sheriff's deputies came to the home and took statements from the family and then drove over to the neighbor's house about 5:30 p.m., Ricketson said. The deputies drove up the long driveway and got out of their vehicle. They'd taken only a couple of steps when a man came out of his house and began shooting at them with a handgun, killing one and critically injuring the other, Ricketson said. As far as investigators can tell, neither of the two deputies had withdrawn his gun.
Peach County coroner Kerry Rooks said 41-year-old Patrick Sondron was killed. Rooks identified the injured deputy as Daryl Smallwood.
The owners of the home where the young men were attending the cookout had walked to where their property abuts the suspect's after the deputies left their house. They heard the gunshots, saw the deputies fall, and rushed back to their house to call 911 again, Ricketson said.
One of the three police officers who responded used a ballistic shield to protect himself as he approached the house, while at least one of the others positioned himself behind his patrol car. The suspect, whose name hasn't been released, walked out of his garage with a rifle and began shooting at the police officers, Ricketson said. One of the officers returned fire, hitting the suspect in the abdomen, after which the officers were able to subdue him and take him into custody, he said.
Ricketson said he obtained warrants on one charge of murder and four charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, but hadn't been able to serve them because the 57-year-old white male suspect was still heavily sedated in a hospital intensive care unit Monday afternoon. He said he won't release the man's name until the warrants are served.
Sondron was white, but the races of Smallwood and the three officers from Byron were not immediately available.