Augusta teen convicted of shooting at sheriff's officer

Garrett D. Howard III will be sentenced at a later date.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted an Augusta teen Tuesday of aggravated assault and weapon charges for shooting at a sheriff’s deputy.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Chad Cheek was in uniform and sitting in an unmarked vehicle equipped with blue lights and siren Dec. 3, 2011, when Garrett D. Howard III, now 17, fired two shots at him.

Cheek, an 18-year veteran officer assigned to the bomb squad, wasn’t hit, but the bullets came within inches of his head.

The deputy was off-duty and on his way to work a special detail during the city’s Christmas parade when he spotted Howard near the Cherry Tree Crossing public housing complex. Howard, Cheek testified Monday, was armed. When Cheek hit his blue lights and siren, Howard turned and fired.

Howard was 15 at the time, and known to law enforcement and the criminal justice system. He had several Juvenile Court delinquency hearings for a burglary in 2009; burglary, obstruction of an officer and possession of a weapon at school in 2010; and two counts of theft and possession of illegal drugs in 2011.

Assistant Public Defender Alexia David sought to have the aggravated assault case transferred back to Juvenile Court, but Judge Michael N. Annis ruled Howard needed to stand trial as an adult.

Howard, who was held in a juvenile detention facility until he turned 17 last week and was transferred to the county jail, will be sentenced at a later date.

 

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