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Deputy's killer was Evans High grad

Killer had local ties, drinking problem

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The Tennessee National Guardsman who shot a Richmond County deputy dead before killing himself had local ties, authorities say.

Christopher Michael Hodges  Special
Special
Christopher Michael Hodges

A principal at Evans High School said Monday that Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, graduated from the Columbia County school in 2004.

Hodges has been identified as a Fort Gordon-based guardsman who shot Deputy James “J.D.” Paugh, 47, a motorcycle patrolman who stopped to investigate a vehicle parked off the road at Gordon Highway and Bobby Jones Expressway early Sunday morning.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength told The Associated Press that the woman with Hodges on Sunday morning said he “definitely had a drinking problem” and grabbed an assault rifle from his trunk after she made him pull over because he was driving drunk.

“She said he had been drinking and he was drunk and that when he gets drunk, he gets violent,” Strength said.

Hodges served in the Tennessee National Guard but had been training at Fort Gordon for six months. Strength said Hodges’ girlfriend told police that they argued in the car after he had gotten drunk at a friend’s house.

Hodges pulled off the highway and into the grass after “she got mad and said, ‘Let me out. I want to go home,’ ” Strength said.

The sheriff said Hodges didn’t shoot at the woman, whose name wasn’t released, but seemed to be randomly firing as he emptied one magazine on the M4 rifle and loaded another. Investigators found at least 40 shell casings, though no motorists reported being hit, Strength said. He said authorities were working to trace the gun, and Fort Gordon officials had determined it didn’t come from the Army post.

Strength said authorities had determined the citizen-soldier had served in Iraq, but he wasn’t sure of the timeline.

He also cautioned that, while investigators are interested in whether Hodges suffered from any service-related mental problems, “we’re not psychiatrists or psychologists.”

The military said Hodges had served on active duty and later in the National Guard at least since 2005, when he was stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. His four years based at the post included a yearlong deployment to Iraq from 2007 to 2008.

According to the Tennessee National Guard, Hodges joined its ranks in February after he had spent about two years in the Georgia Guard.

Neither Tennessee National Guard nor Fort Gordon officials have said what sort of training Hodges was doing at the post in Augusta.

He belonged to the 1st Battalion, 107th Aviation Regiment, based in Smyrna, Tenn., which deployed to Afghanistan in June while Hodges was training at Fort Gordon.

A Memphis television station reported that Hodges and his wife lived in nearby Millington, where neighbors expressed surprise when a reporter told them the news of the shooting.

Hodges also used the address of a house in Martinez. According to traffic citations in Richmond and Columbia counties – one from as recent as August – Hodges listed his address in the 4700 block of Remington Place.

Property records show that the home belongs to a Fred Hodges Jr., but lists his address as Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Workers at the home Monday afternoon said no one named Hodges currently lives there.

Comments (98) Add comment
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Mwilli5009
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Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 02:02 pm
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His facebook profile says a

His facebook profile says a lot more than that about him. It also gives you a look into how he portrayed himself. I posted the link and it was deleted. So, instead, I will just advise anyone interested in the matter to search the site. His pictures are public.

Also, you may search on twitter for his page there. It is public.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 02:28 pm
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Mwilli5009 - how can you be

Mwilli5009 - how can you be so positive that the FB page you posted was even of the correct person? His name is quite common.

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 02:51 pm
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I tried to find him on FB but

I tried to find him on FB but he is not on there with his full name. What name is he using on facebook?

allhans
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allhans 10/24/11 - 02:52 pm
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I check FB and I don't know

I check FB and I don't know which one. I saw one holding a gun but he was a white guy.

Nikki Mabala
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Nikki Mabala 10/24/11 - 02:56 pm
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Yes his name is quite common.

Yes his name is quite common. However, on his fb nor twitter is there anything bad. He was a very intelligent young man, and loved life. This tragic incident that happened has even the closest people to him asking questions.

lexcabguy2004
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lexcabguy2004 10/24/11 - 03:10 pm
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I think the whole Tennessee

I think the whole Tennessee National Guard thing is throwing everyone off. He isn't from Tennesse. If he graduated from here and he lives here, he is a CSRA citizen. He may be in the Tn National Guard because his military specialty is not available in a Georgia NG unit. If he is an engineer for example, the only available slot or unit may be in Tennessee. Sadly, it appears he is a local boy. More will come out I am sure.

allhans
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allhans 10/24/11 - 03:13 pm
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He had been living in

He had been living in Millington Tn, he and his wife, according to a Kansas city source

allhans
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allhans 10/24/11 - 03:22 pm
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I checked with the profiles

I checked with the profiles and none fit the facts as we know them of this man..

allhans
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allhans 10/24/11 - 03:23 pm
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Mwilli...I think you might be

Mwilli...I think you might be wrong.

lexcabguy2004
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lexcabguy2004 10/24/11 - 03:26 pm
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It is definately him. It

It is definately him. It looks like his dad is a Warrant Officer. It also looks like he has been deployed at least once. Judging from his pics, he doesn't look anything like a stone cold killer. Apparently, he had a wife and a girlfriend. He had some issues from something.

Mwilli5009
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Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 03:37 pm
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I want to clarify again that

I want to clarify again that I have nothing by remorse and sadness for the Paugh family. This is tragic. I am just very interested in this entire scenario, as it doesn't make sense. I feel horrible for the Hodges family as well. All I have seen are online materials, but I would go out on a limb and say they raised their son the right way and are good people. I'm sure this is a terrible time for them.

Mwilli5009
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Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 03:41 pm
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The link above is both

The link above is both functional and the correct person.

iLove
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iLove 10/24/11 - 03:44 pm
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Ya'll know how the AC does
Unpublished

Ya'll know how the AC does with certain pictures of certain people. . . . .

Mwilli5009
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Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 03:59 pm
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Once again, Sean Moores has

Once again, Sean Moores has come and stuck down my posts with his mighty index finger and rationalized it with flawed reasoning. Of course, I won't get a reply to my queries. Sorry you all, just tried to give you more information on the event. :-)

Nikki Mabala
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Nikki Mabala 10/24/11 - 04:07 pm
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He was not a stone cold

He was not a stone cold killer! This was completly out of character! He was a great guy who loved his friends and family and would do absolutly anything for them. By the way he did not have a wife and girlfriend at the same time. Please refrain from personal speculation in order to not further tarnish this mans name!

noway
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noway 10/24/11 - 04:15 pm
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Why are you people stalking

Why are you people stalking this guy on FB or anywhere? This is a tragedy. Have some respect for our fallen officer.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 04:15 pm
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This young man has

This young man has experienced things that those who choose to vilify him have not faced. We have no idea why he snapped.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/24/11 - 04:31 pm
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What's going on here is

What's going on here is because of the tragic death of this officer some are stupidly criticizing war veterans. Someone even just called all the military mindless robots.

In some cases they feel the pain greatly. In some cases they are looking for something to blame when there is nothing. In other cases they want to show they can hate the shooter more than others can hate. They want to show how much they are sorrowed by what happened yet take it out in a totally inappropriate way by saying those with PTSD are "soft."

Those war vets and especially those with PTSD deserve our help and respect, not sniping. Everyone sit back and think for a minute.

If anyone knows the funeral arrangements for Hodges and if it is local, I'd like to know and contribute to his funeral in addition to a fund for Deputy Paugh.

bigdaddymg6998
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bigdaddymg6998 10/24/11 - 04:29 pm
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This is a tragedy indeed

This is a tragedy indeed

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 04:37 pm
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Riverman I tried to tell you

Riverman I tried to tell you where to look for funeral details but my post is being held.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/24/11 - 04:41 pm
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Happychimer, really? Was

Happychimer, really? Was there a link that caused it? I can't believe they would hold up information about the funeral arrangements for Hodges. Try it again. Maybe someone from the Chronicle can let us know. The arrangements for Officer Paugh are well known.

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 04:41 pm
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I will rephrase my post being

I will rephrase my post being held., even though I did not try to post the names of where to look. Riverman check out other local news sources.

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 04:44 pm
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I did post the day of the

I did post the day of the funeral. Maybe that is why my post was held.

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 04:45 pm
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I am sorry. that was not

I am sorry. that was not Hodges. it was Paugh.

KSL
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KSL 10/24/11 - 04:50 pm
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Under the circumstances,

Under the circumstances, perhaps the family wants the information to remain private to keep away people who may want to protest and disrupt the funeral.

happychimer
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happychimer 10/24/11 - 04:58 pm
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This is tragic for both

This is tragic for both families.I don't claim to know why Hodges did what he did, but the fact that he was shooting at vehicles, and then shot Paugh that many times, and the fact that he had fought in a war, what i am thinking is the man needed help and did not get it. Maybe I am wrong, but that is how I feel.

thinbluewife
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thinbluewife 10/24/11 - 05:04 pm
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I am part of the law

I am part of the law enforcement family. I hurt because we lost a great man, a young man lost his Dad, and parents their son. There are many whose lives changed in a matter of minutes. JD was going above and beyond the call and ultimately lost his life.
On the other hand, I have known the Hodges family for a very long time. Christopher was raised by very dedicated parents; with a balance of discipline and love. He was raised in a way that unfortunately isn't as common as it was twenty years ago. I doubt we will truly know what caused the events, but know that two mothers are mourning.
My heart is torn two ways. It is my greatest fear that my husband will not return home from his shift. Afraid that knock will be on my door.

southernguy08
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southernguy08 10/24/11 - 05:05 pm
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I feel for both families
Unpublished

I feel for both families also. One of RC's finest had his life taken from him, and this man took his own life. There is no happy ending here, folks. May God give them both peace.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 05:24 pm
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.

.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/24/11 - 08:02 pm
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My condolences to both the

My condolences to both the Paugh and Hodges families. While I don't know what happened inside Hodges' mind for him to do this, it does not seem in keeping with either his upbringing or personal history. PTSD seems to be a distinct possibility. According to an obituary for his brother Matthew just last May, five generations of his family have served in combat.

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