Man shoots self after Ga. deputy shoots him

  WATKINSVILLE, Ga. - An Oconee County man shot himself in the head after a sheriff's deputy shot him in the arm during a confrontation Thursday .

Sgt. Shane Partain fired one bullet that hit Andrew Mayerbach, 42, in the left forearm and chest after he pointed the gun at the five deputies who were approaching a camper on Jones Road, said Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry and Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Barrow County sheriff's deputies are conducting the outside investigation of the shooting, Berry said.

"Sheriff Smith will deliver his report to the District Attorney (Ken Mauldin) for whatever action the district attorney sees fit," Berry said.

This is the first deputy-involved shooting in Oconee County in at least 18 years, he said.

Mayerbach took an 18-year-old woman and her mother hostage and held them at his camper home before deputies arrived, the sheriffs said.

Mayerbach lived in the camper off Jones Road, which runs between Mars Hill and Jimmy Daniel roads near Georgia Highway 316. The 18-year-old and her mother live nearby.

Mayerbach first approached the 18-year-old when she was home by herself, Berry said.

He took her hostage, and then her mother, when she arrived home, he said.

Mayerbach then forced the women to walk to his camper where he shot the older woman in the foot and threatened the younger woman, Berry said.

"He held the 18-year-old at gunpoint and told her to dial 911," the sheriff said. "The 18-year-old girl was able to escape by leaping through a window."

The young woman ran to a neighbor's house to find help, he said.

When deputies arrived, they didn't see anyone outside the camper and asked Mayerbach to step out of the building.

When Mayerbach emerged, he pointed a handgun at the deputies, Berry said.

"The deputies gave numerous directions to drop the handgun," he said. "(Mayerbach) did not do so."

Partain fired a rifle shot at Mayerbach and hit him in the arm and chest before Mayerbach turned the handgun on himself, Berry said.

"The suspect turned, spun around, dropped to his knees, held a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun he was holding in his right hand to his head and pulled the trigger," he said.

Both women were taken to Athens Regional Medical Center and were released Thursday night, Berry said.

Barrow County Sheriff's Office investigators are conducting the outside investigation because the two offices agreed years ago to investigate each others' deputy-involved shootings, Berry said.

"(Oconee County deputies) have been nothing but helpful and cooperating with everything that we need," Smith said.

Oconee County Chief Deputy Lee Weems will lead an internal investigation to ensure that all policies and procedures were followed during the shootings, Berry said.

Partain won't return to active duty until the Barrow County Sheriff's Office completes its investigation of the shooting, Berry said.

Mayerbach had an Oconee County address for at least a year and worked as a day laborer, Smith said. He originally was from New York and relatives live in Fishkill, N.Y., Smith said.

Investigators found two small homemade bombs Friday afternoon in one of the homes near Mayerbach's camper and what looked like a bomb-making station in a structure near the property, Weems said.

The University of Georgia's Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit detonated the bombs, he said.

Investigators believe Mayerbach made the bombs, but Weems declined to comment about why Mayerbach made the bombs or what he planned to do with the devices.

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