TN-based guardsman, Ga. deputy killed in shooting - WSMV News 4

TN-based guardsman, Ga. deputy killed in shooting

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA (AP) -

Investigators were awaiting autopsy results and military records in hopes they will shed light on why a Tennessee National Guardsman allegedly gunned down a Georgia sheriff's deputy before committing suicide on the side of a highway.
  
Richmond County, Ga., sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles said investigators believe Spc. Christopher Michael Hodges had been deployed to Iraq, but they were awaiting more details from the U.S. military.
  
Officials say Hodges, 26, was firing gunshots at passing cars moments before off-duty Richmond County sheriff's Deputy James Paugh, 47, pulled over to investigate a suspicious car on the side of the road early Sunday.
  
Hodges and Paugh were found dead on the side of Bobby Jones Expressway after 1 a.m. Sunday.
  
A funeral service was planned for 11 a.m. Thursday for the deputy at First Baptist Church of Augusta.
  
"We're set up for more than 1,000," sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay said. "We know that people are coming from all over Georgia and from throughout the United States."
  
Gay said his department has been flooded with emails and notes from well-wishers.
  
One of them, from a doctor in Ohio, said the deputy "is a true hero" and expressed hope that his family finds some comfort.
  
"I hope the fact that he is being honored by so many brings them some comfort in this time of loss," the note stated. "May they feel comfort and love from across the nation."
  
"It's very hard to read some of these without getting emotional because this is certainly a trying time for us," Gay said.
  
Hodges served in the Tennessee National Guard but was on temporary duty at Georgia's Fort Gordon 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.
  
"On behalf of the Fort Gordon community, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the death of Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy James Paugh," Fort Gordon's
commander, Maj. Gen Alan R. Lynn, said in a statement.
  
"While restricted in much of what we can say because of the ongoing investigation, we are extremely distressed in knowing that a Fort Gordon student soldier was involved in this tragic
incident," he said.
  
Authorities said Hodges had been having some sort of dispute with a female on the side of the road, though it does not appear Paugh knew about that when he pulled up on his motorcycle. The deputy was on his way home from working at the sheriff's department.
  
The woman was questioned by law officers as a witness and is not facing any charges, Gay said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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