Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Deputy's killer was Evans High grad

Killer had local ties, drinking problem

  • Follow Crime & courts

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
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 06:24 pm
0
0
This is truly a tragedy on

This is truly a tragedy on both sides. What we can take from this is, that none of us know when we are living our last hours or minutes. Live your life with purpose, value your relationships, enjoy the good along with the difficult and put your faith in Christ. He is our only true hope. In Him, we live forever, and abundently, beyond our wildest expectations.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/24/11 - 06:31 pm
0
0
since the national guard
Unpublished

since the national guard isn't releasing information, i'd guess he was deployed. i don't know too much but i read a little about ptsd in an article about an augusta medical researcher who has managed to erase bad memories in mice. as i remember, ptsd memories are not experienced as memories; they are interpreted by our minds as reality. that's what makes functioning back in the regular world so hard. it's not a bad memory so much as getting thrown for all you know into another reality. this is a sad story of a good cop going beyond his duty possibly meeting a good guy who went off to war for us and brought it back with him.

allhans
23688
Points
allhans 10/24/11 - 06:35 pm
0
0
It is normal for people to

It is normal for people to wonder about what kind of person would turn on his fellow man for no apparent reason.

Hodges is reported to have served overseas in some capacity during 2007 or 2oo8. Does it take that long for the symptoms to show. One press report said he had been in trouble before he enlisted, so it could be, could be, another reason completely.

allhans
23688
Points
allhans 10/24/11 - 06:39 pm
0
0
stating the facts. I don't

stating the facts. I don't think most people knew that Hodges was black until today.
One poster "found" him on a social netrworking site and the person he was talking about was a young white man. So much for our guessing games.

Riverman1
84152
Points
Riverman1 10/24/11 - 06:46 pm
0
0
Allhans, my friend, sure it's

Allhans, my friend, sure it's normal to wonder about him. No one is faulting you. And you could be right, it could have been other reasons that caused him to go beserk. But go beserk is what he did.

Sheriff Strength said he couldn't find any kind of criminal record on him. He graduated from Evans and his dad was an Army officer. He served in Iraq. It all just makes it extremely likely he suffered from PTSD. We all hurt for the slain officer and lots of things were said that people probably didn't mean.

We should probably contribute to both families is how we could really do some good.

corgimom
32616
Points
corgimom 10/24/11 - 06:49 pm
0
0
Again, to suggest that Hodges

Again, to suggest that Hodges had PTSD, or suffered from his war experiences, is inappropriate.

Just because someone serves in a war zone doesn't mean that they were traumatized. My cousin went to Iraq. He unloaded ships. My nephew went to Iraq. He repaired diesel trucks. Neither of them engaged in any combat, and they do not suffer from PTSD.

The Army has thousands of jobs and many of them are non-combat related. If you watch tv and read the newspapers, you would think that every single person that goes to Iraq comes back suffering from PTSD and are broken forever. While some do, the vast majority do not.

Characterizing Hodges' actions as suffering from PTSD due to his war experiences does a disservice to all veterans, and since no one on here know what his "war experiences" were, it is irresponsible speculation.

Statements like "possibly meeting a good guy who went off to war for us and brought it back with him" and "PTSD seems to be a distict possibility" are grossly inappropriate.

At this time, nobody knows why he did what he did. And probably no one will ever fully know, the answers died with him.

allhans
23688
Points
allhans 10/24/11 - 07:04 pm
0
0
Riverman I nevr knew Hodge,

Riverman I nevr knew Hodge, the report I mentioned came from a media source in Kansas City, one of their representives interviewed one-time neighbors in Millington TN.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 07:09 pm
0
0
Corgi - with all due respect,

Corgi - with all due respect, just because your cousin came back from combat without PSTD does not mean that others are not affected by this disorder. People are making the statements that it is most likely due to PTSD because his behavior the last night of his life fits the scenario of a person suffering from PTSD flashback syndrome. He was known as a good natured, likable, reasonable person. It's been noted that he served two tours of combat since 2007 and he's only 26 years old. According to the Memphis ABC station his unit in TN had just recently gotten notice that they were to deploy again to a Middle Eastern combat zone. He was reported to be extremely drunk, he used a weapon like the one he used in combat to shoot at passing vehicles and he shot Deputy Paugh before he could even get off his bike. Sounds like a flashback episode. Acknowledging the mental difficulties of many of our servicemembers who return from war zones and serve multiple tours there is not a disservice. To ignore their pain, their difficulties, the record high rate of suicide amongst them, the record high rate of alcoholism, of spousal abuse and to not try to understand this tragedy in light of all this would be a great disservice.

Those of us who have had the honor to have met Deputy James D Paugh are saddened by his loss. He was a great officer and a great man. This young man up until whatever caused him to snap by all accounts was a good and decent man also. Both men leave behind them grieving loved ones. Throwing stones at Christopher Hodges does not hurt him, it only hurts the ones who loved him.

PTSD does exist and for those who suffer from it, it's a lot worse than most would imagine. I have a personal friend who is an officer who has served five tours. He told me of how he had attended five funerals of his soldiers who had killed themselves since returning from the last deployment. He himself admitted he was afraid to have a girlfriend because he was afraid that he would wake up with one of his flashbacks and hurt her. Trying to understand the pain and to use this to help others in the future is not attacking our military. To not attempt to understand would be the greatest disservice.

augusta912
0
Points
augusta912 10/24/11 - 07:10 pm
0
0
My prayers go out to the both

My prayers go out to the both families. I personally knew Hodges and he was a kind and fun person to be around. I just dont understand what cause him to do this. I will always remember him for the kind and loving person he was cause thats all i knew of him and not the stone cold killer some is trying to make him out to be.

Riverman1
84152
Points
Riverman1 10/24/11 - 07:13 pm
0
0
Allhans, I don't know what

Allhans, I don't know what the Kansas City people said, but what we do know is he graduated from Evans and had never once been in trouble anywhere in the country...according to Sheriff Strength. We also know he was in Iraq. He went to a North Augusta Baptist Church. He came from a good family. He snapped we can all agree on.

Corgimom may have a point that there is no evidence of PTSD, yet, but we can all agree he snapped for some reason. None of us are psychiatrists is true, but it's just as much speculation to ignore his past and Iraqi service as it is to consider them.

As far as doing a disservice to servicemen what got me is someone in the media saying Iraqi vets are "soft" today. Then saying he didn't care about the family of Hodges.

thinbluewife
1
Points
thinbluewife 10/24/11 - 07:15 pm
0
0
Hodges does not have a

Hodges does not have a brother named Matthew, nor does he have one that is deceased. He has two younger brothers that are both alive and well.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 10/24/11 - 07:16 pm
0
0
@Cassandra. Repost the link

@Cassandra. Repost the link that shows Hodges with his dad. The graduation photo is not current.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 07:16 pm
0
0
Corgi - might I point out,

Corgi - might I point out, neither of the duties you describe your relatives doing would likely involve any combat or dealing with casualties.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 10/24/11 - 07:17 pm
0
0
@Cassandra. Repost the link

@Cassandra. Repost the link that shows Hodges with his dad. The graduation photo is not current.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 07:20 pm
0
0
This is an article of father

This is an article of father and son deploying together for Christopher Hodges' first deployment to Iraq in 2007.
http://www.dvidshub.net/news/13739/father-follows-son-war#.TqW482Ac-aA

My heart is just breaking for his mother and father to lose their son this way.

Riverman1
84152
Points
Riverman1 10/24/11 - 07:21 pm
0
0
I saw the photo of Hodges

I saw the photo of Hodges with his dad and both in uniform today. There is also a story about both of them serving in Iraq. So there's evidence he served at least one tour there.

By the way, his mom lives here. I ran into someone today who knows both parents.

millymilly
110
Points
millymilly 10/24/11 - 07:22 pm
0
0
This is an all around sad

This is an all around sad situation. There are two men who took on a responsibility to protect and serve.......and their lives are lost, one at the hands of the other. I don't know Christopher Hodges but I too looked up his facebook page. I did not Stalk him, I just wanted to see if there were anything ...any answers... anything that would help me understand what would cause him to do this. There was nothing. (yes, it was definately his facebook page) The pictures depict a wonderful man, with a wonderful family. His smile, his friends, his family... it seems as though he had everything too loose. I do not know if he had PTSD, but I've researched the results of this disorder and it's not pretty. My thoughts and prayers are with JD and his family. JD was not just any officer, he was one of the greats. He was the officer that made your kids want to be a policeman when they grow up. Both families have experienced a great tragedy. My heart cries for both families. I put myself in both situations and think...what would I do. I want to console both families as noone asked for this. Can anyone who knows him, post and let me know for sure that he had PTSD?

KSL
130050
Points
KSL 10/24/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Some people here should take

Some people here should take a lesson from good doctors. If tests (or further information gathering is needed) they don't diagnose without knowing the facts just based on similarities to a disease (or mental condition). They don't jump to conclusions. There is nothing wrong in speculating that he may have suffered from PTSD. But to practically insist that he did is just plain wrong if you don't have personal and definitive knowledge that he did.

By the way, in the past, I suffered from a mild case of it myself. It was mild enough that I got over it without any counseling and have no lingering problems with it. But it was complete with flashbacks, one of which I had while driving, causing me to have a traffic accident.

thinbluewife
1
Points
thinbluewife 10/24/11 - 07:32 pm
0
0
When his Dad was transferred,

When his Dad was transferred, his Mom moved with him. They both lived here for years, but neither live here any longer.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 07:38 pm
0
0
The girlfriend is the most

The girlfriend is the most logical person to possibly shed some light as to his frame of mind that night. If he was indeed suffering from PTSD, it didn't just show up in that moment, that night. She could answer a lot of questions especially about whether or not he had a drug history.

Also, I would like to ask some of the LEO's, if it is dept. policy to broadcast an alert to all officers in a case like this in an effort to warn them. If it isn't, it certainly should be. I have no doubt, that Officer Paugh saved a lot of lives that night.

Sargebaby
4693
Points
Sargebaby 10/24/11 - 07:40 pm
0
0
No matter the circumstances,

No matter the circumstances, reports state that Hodges was "drunk." Are "drunks" responsible for their actions? You bet they are! If Hodges had PTSD, the fact that he was alcohol impaired is enough to make him do irrational acts.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 10/24/11 - 07:41 pm
0
0
I agree with Corgimom: While
Unpublished

I agree with Corgimom: While we don't know yet what precipitated this tragic event, some people are all too quick to simply put it to blame on the "one size fits all PTSD". Then the issue's clouded, buried and forgotten about. Just as likely a scenerio is uncontollable rage from the domestic dispute. Any policeman will tell you that domestic disputes represent the most dangerous threat they face. They are subject to go violent in an instant.
My sympathies to both families.

KSL
130050
Points
KSL 10/24/11 - 07:48 pm
0
0
lsmith, I'm with you. drunk

lsmith, I'm with you. drunk and fighting with a girlfriend is enough to explain it without prematurely trying to politicize the discussion. Not that I believe you should rule out PTSD. But to blame it on PTSD without any personal knowledge is just plain wrong.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 07:54 pm
0
0
Allhans: Check your email

Allhans: Check your email much? I messaged you the link before all my posts were deleted. It is there and I wasnt wrong. You're welcome.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 07:59 pm
0
0
Though a rare moment, I find

Though a rare moment, I find myself in agreement with corgimom.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 08:19 pm
0
0
I really hate facebook.

I really hate facebook. People who post their inner most thoughts particularly young people while they are struggling through difficult times have no idea what they are doing to themselves and their families.

I will not participate in viewing a deceased person's social networking page, nor anyone else's unless I have been expressly invited by the owner or their immediate family for the sole purpose of giving encouragement and understanding.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 08:22 pm
0
0
Facebook isnt where one posts

Facebook isnt where one posts their inner most thoughts. Thus, you must hate Facebook for reasons which are not accurate. Status updates merely reflect what a person currently feels or is doing. A blog is more what you are referring to. While Facebook has a note option, it is rarely used. The Facebook contains nothing but pictures of Mr. Hodges and his friends and family. Perhaps it will allow those interested in gaining incite into who he was.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 08:23 pm
0
0
It is prohibited to provide a

It is prohibited to provide a link to a private page or give out private information of other social networking sites. The AC admins have removed this information several times.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 08:29 pm
0
0
The pictures of the page are

The pictures of the page are not private Cassandra. They are available for public viewing. Anyone in the world with a facebook may access them. If this is true, how does this constitute a private page or private information?

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 08:30 pm
0
0
Furthermore, Mr. Hodges

Furthermore, Mr. Hodges twitter page is completely, 100% public. No account is necessary to view his postings. Anyone with a search engine can automatically view it.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs