Ex-Columbia County code officer stunned at Augusta bar


A former Columbia County code officer fired last year for entering a home without permission was immobilized with a stun gun by Rich­mond County deputies at a bar early Sunday after he refused an officer’s commands.


According to a police report, James Alan Vowell, 52, of Grovetown, was at Coyotes, 2512 Peach Orchard Road, just after midnight Saturday and was asked to leave. Deputies arrived and found him arguing with the bar owner. As Vowell left the building, Cpl. Ryan DiGiacomo heard him tell a fellow deputy, “Wait until I catch you off duty.”

As officers tried to take Vowell to a patrol car, he spun around and pushed away DiGiacomo’s arm, police said. Vowell then cursed at the officers and said he would not do as they asked.

DiGiacomo stunned Vowell in the chest until he went to the ground.

While placing Vowell under arrest, police found a 9 mm handgun in the waistband of his pants. The owner told officers that weapons are not allowed at his bar.

Vowell faces charges of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and carrying deadly weapons in unauthorized locations.

Vowell made news in July 2012 as a code enforcement officer when he was caught on camera walking into Erica Masters’ Martinez home without permission.

Vowell, who was serving a violation notice for overgrown grass, walked in while Masters was asleep in her bedroom. Vowell later said he entered the home because he was concerned for the homeowner’s safety after noticing several things out of place.

He was not criminally charged because investigators found no criminal intent.

Vowell is also a former sergeant at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. He resigned in 2004 after admitting to taking a computer from the property room. Authorities said an ex-girlfriend tipped off Internal Affairs to the incident.

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