Ga. deputy fatally shot

Posted: October 24, 2011

ATLANTA - A National Guardsman who appeared to be drunk and firing gunshots at passing cars shot and killed a sheriff's deputy, then committed suicide on a Georgia road, authorities said yesterday.

Evidence shows Spc. Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, fired 35 rounds from his M4 semiautomatic rifle, Richmond County Sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay said. Hodges and Deputy James D. Paugh, 47, were found dead on the side of Bobby Jones Expressway after 1 a.m. yesterday.

Hodges was in the Tennessee National Guard on temporary duty at Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia for training, said Buz Yarnell, a spokesman for the military post. Yarnell said he was not aware of any problems with Hodges before the shooting and he would not say if Hodges had previously been deployed in combat.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength told the Augusta Chronicle that Paugh was off duty and on his way home when he saw a suspicious car on the side of the road. He was shot several times when he stopped to check on the car and apparently fired two shots from his service weapon before he was killed.

"He was just checking that car. He pulled over his motorcycle and didn't even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him," the sheriff said.

An autopsy was scheduled for today in Atlanta. Yarnell declined to release more information on Hodges until the investigation is complete.

The Sheriff's Department said Paugh had been with the department for 17 years.

Authorities said Hodges had been having some sort of dispute with a female, though it does not appear Paugh knew about that. Gay said authorities took the woman into custody for questioning. No one else was injured in the shooting, Gay said.

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