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.
KSL
135589
Points
KSL 10/24/11 - 08:32 pm
0
0
Yes, they have tightened up

Yes, they have tightened up some of their policies. Just wish they would be consistent.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 08:36 pm
0
0
Mwilli5009 - I was just

Mwilli5009 - I was just letting you know the rules. Sean has been very quick today about pulling all posts that contain FB links and twitter info.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 08:40 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 don't hate it. I use it to post messages about the environment, politics, ethics, events. So do most of my friends. I've seen some people who don't know how to handle it, but most use it the same way I do. I agree with your sentiment that I will not view a deceased person's page.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 08:41 pm
0
0
My reasons for hating

My reasons for hating Facebook, etc., seem so very obvious to me and so clearly demonstrated...can you say disingenuous?

raul
5347
Points
raul 10/24/11 - 08:44 pm
0
0
The article linked by

The article linked by Cassandra Harris about father and son deployment, has Spec4 Hodges duties as that of an aviation operations specialist. Maybe someone with knowledge of that MOS could elaborate further. Is it typically a combat or non combat position?

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 08:46 pm
0
0
Cassandra, yes, used

Cassandra, yes, used cautiously, it can be a helpful social and professional networking tool. I have had the occasion to see many young people and the not so wise get hurt by it. Directing people to view a deceased person's facebook account is just bad manners any way you look at it.

allhans
24147
Points
allhans 10/24/11 - 08:49 pm
0
0
mwillii, Thank you for

mwillii, Thank you for trying but I didn't receive an email.
It's ok. No big deal, anyhow.

happychimer
18798
Points
happychimer 10/24/11 - 08:51 pm
0
0
I love facebook. I have

I love facebook. I have connected with many people I had not spoken to in many years. Some I have not seen since 1966.I have family on facebook and am able to see pictures they post. I share news stories and pictures, and I choose who can see what I post. I choose my friends,and if someone needs to send a personal message to me they can.Nobody stands over me telling me what I can't post.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 08:53 pm
0
0
I agree with you on all

I agree with you on all counts Willow, as I have already stated. I also already stated that I agree about viewing the page of a deceased person out of curiosity.

However when used correctly FB can be a good thing. I have friends and family all over the world. I am able to keep in touch with what they are doing and view pics of what is going on in their lives. My page is not open to just anyone. Even so, when I post on my homepage, I post things that are not of a personal nature, only things I would say in public. FB is like television, text messaging, or the internet it is as good or bad as how you use it.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 08:55 pm
0
0
allhans: You received an

allhans: You received an email to the address tied with your augustachronicle account. I had a copy sent to me to verify it.

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 10/24/11 - 08:58 pm
0
0
Mwilly...nobody has a "RIGHT"

Mwilly...nobody has a "RIGHT" to know any thing about the people involved. Why not respect the deceased and let it be? If people really want to know, they will look for themselves, but its not anybody's RIGHT to know anything. I really do long for the days when the news media didnt think they had to tell everything...too many people nowdays think that they have a right to get in everyone elses business. Ask yourself MWilly, how would YOU feel if this situation involved one of your family and someone was publicly trying to "tell everyone in Augusta how this person was". The facts will come out that are relevant and really, we dont even need to know that much.

PTSD is a horrible thing to go through, IF that is what caused Hodges to snap the way he did. Fighting with the girl, excessive use of alcohol are both symptoms, but not in and of themselves diagnostic. As a military spouse, I really do hope that was why he snapped and not for another cause, because that to me is the only answer that makes any semblance of sense.
I have trouble crossing railroad tracks to this day after seeing a dead 14 yr old kid as a vol. ff/emt. 10 yrs ago. What made it so hard for me was that I lived across the street from where this kid died..part of him was on my truck. Nobody should have to see those kinds of things. What I saw was mild compared to what some of these guys that go to war see. I didnt require counseling other than our critical incident stress debriefing that we did afterwards, but Im pretty sure that Ill be forever haunted by that scene. I remember everything about that night and my reactions to passing trains the next day...in detail. While PTSD may not have been what brought this on, this whole situation reeks to me of Shoot or be shot, but thats just my opinion and also my hope as strange as that may sound.

My heart breaks for everyone involved. It truly is a terrible tragedy no matter what caused Hodges to snap. Two lives are lost and two families and communities are reeling from this. What they need now is prayers.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 09:06 pm
0
0
I'm glad you're enjoying it

I'm glad you're enjoying it happy. (I guess I should rephrase again... I "sometimes" hate Facebook, when it hurts other people or it is used to invade another's privacy.

I use mine to keep up with friends and family members too. It also helps me to keep up with birthday's that I would otherwise miss. And it's so much fun waking up to birthday wishes for myself from people I don't get to see often. Got one this year from my old high school sweetheart and his wife. I haven't seen him in well, let's just say a lot of years.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 09:03 pm
0
0
Willow: Bad manners? Bad

Willow: Bad manners? Bad manners is posting horrible things about the young man prior to knowing anything about him. I have a father and brother who are officers. I could have taken the road often traveled and called Mr. Hodges a cop killer and many other things that members of this forum have already said. I didn't and instead I tried to learn about him before rushing to judgment. I can't construe my logic as spawning from bad manners.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 10/24/11 - 09:09 pm
0
0
Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 09:13 pm
0
0
GGtaze: This is the

GGtaze: This is the information age. People are going to do that regardless. If they are going to do so, I hope they make informed decisions rather than spew hatred and anger with absolutely no knowledge.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 09:17 pm
0
0
Mwilli, I could be mistaken,

Mwilli, I could be mistaken, but I believe for the most part, our posters have been gracious in most of their remarks and withheld judgment. They seem mostly to be trying to make sense out of something that is senseless and not add to either families' misery.

As to having your posts removed, maybe it's done differently in Knoxville, but violation of AC policies will tend to make that happen, here.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 09:27 pm
0
0
Willow: In this thread, yes.

Willow: In this thread, yes. Things have been quite civil. However, many people have found outside information to help them make knowledgeable judgments. Look back at the first posts from when this occurred in early threads.

I haven't had a post deleted on the Knox News Sentinel yet, but all they really care about here is UT football. Not nearly the number of tragedies happen here, fortunately. Save for that horrible orange color they all wear here. Don't get me started on that. :-)

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 09:28 pm
0
0
I looked back over the

I looked back over the comments on this thread again, Mwilli, and if there was any controversy at all, it came after you began encouraging people to seek information through facebook accounts. The common name created a lot of confusion. Also your own motivations never seemed clear until much later. Perhaps you can understand better now why the AC would not want those links posted.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/24/11 - 09:31 pm
0
0
riverman, i don't like anyone
Unpublished

riverman, i don't like anyone calling today's soldiers soft. because it's such a common type in the business, i bet along with insulting our soldiers, that media personality supports our wars yet never participated. today's soldiers go on many tours. no draft and no big swell of volunteers like the greatest generation so many seem to identify with. i heard a story of a man who killed himself before being sent out on his tenth deployment. this story is also nationwide. since our soldiers are reported to have more brain trauma, emotional problems, and suicides, it's not unreasonable to assume we're going to hear about some of them. this may have been unrelated to his time at war, but it definitely carries some actions that seem to be sort of the way combat happens in today's wars. the way he was shooting sounds like a modern war scene. he's a young man who signed up to let us send him into that. let's assume the best about him. there's a reason there's no draft. we're scared to go to war. who among us would come back the same? we expect a killing switch to just go on and off over and over sometimes under probably the greatest imaginable stress and expect it to never short circuit? that's not soft. it's predictable.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 10/24/11 - 09:37 pm
0
0
My motivations remained

My motivations remained unclear because all of my posts were deleted! I am not here to stir people up or create anger. The farthest thing from it. I simply wanted to encourage people to not judge Mr. Hodges until they knew a little more about him. Yes, he died a murderer and I am so, so sorry for the Paugh family and all those impacted (so many of my facebook friends have a badge as their profile picture in honor of him and that is quite a testament to his character). But, after viewing available info, it really made me wonder what would push Mr. Hodges to such lengths. It didn't fit his character at all and I can understand why his family is so surprised. I feel horrible for them as well.

Also, I meant earlier threads as in from when this was breaking news and not this actual story we are currently in.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 09:38 pm
0
0
I've followed fairly closely,

I've followed fairly closely, there were just a couple of really emotionally charged outburst. For the most part, Augustan's have done very well expressing their grief for Officer Paugh as well as trying to seek some level of understanding for Hodges, for the sake of our loyalty to our American soldiers and compassion for his family.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/24/11 - 09:44 pm
0
0
Mwilli, I'm not trying to put

Mwilli, I'm not trying to put you down personally. Your post being removed would contribute to your motivations being misunderstood. Let's just agree that this is a tragedy that none of us would want to endure and agree to pray for both families. Peace in Knoxville:)

lexcabguy2004
0
Points
lexcabguy2004 10/24/11 - 10:10 pm
0
0
MOS: 15T Aviation

MOS: 15T Aviation Operations Specialists help operate one of the largest fleets of aircraft in the world. Hundreds of transport, passenger and combat airplanes and helicopters fly missions every day. Accurate flight information keeps operations safe and efficient. Aviation Operations Specialists prepare and provide flight information for air and ground crews.

The Aviation Operations Specialist is primarily responsible for scheduling and dispatching tactical aircraft missions. Some of your duties as an Aviation Operations Specialist may include:

Process local and cross-country flight clearances
Check accuracy of flight plans
Coordinate flight plans
Maintain flight logs on incoming and outgoing flights
Alert crash crews of emergencies
Safeguard classified materials
Interpret and post weather reports
Maintain individual flight records and functional files

One does not have to be directly in combat to suffer PTSD. In a aviation unit, although you may not actually even fly with the aircraft, you will repair and clean the aircraft that may have carried dead soldiers or injured pilots leaving blood and other bodily material. This is total speculation as to what he may have seen, but a possiblity. Some people can handle the stresses of combat more than others. You can read more about PTSD here:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/post-traumatic_stress_disorder_ptsd/page3...

This is a terrible tragedy and we will never have all the answers we want. Want to help and learn more about PTSD?

http://hiddenwounds.org/category/memorials/

18 veterans commit suicide every day!

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=58879

lexcabguy2004
0
Points
lexcabguy2004 10/24/11 - 10:33 pm
0
0
Apparently, the girlfriend

Apparently, the girlfriend ran and got in another car before other police arrived, but this has not been reported in any main stream media. Why not?

raul
5347
Points
raul 10/24/11 - 10:41 pm
0
0
@NoLongerAmazed. In the link

@NoLongerAmazed. In the link provided by Cassandra Harris earlier concerning father and son deployment, Christoper Hodges father is Fred, not Willliam as was listed in the link you provided on the obituary of a Matthew Hodges.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/24/11 - 10:59 pm
0
0
raul - you are correct.

raul - you are correct. There are so many threads and posts on this tragedy, but earlier this evening on one of them a personal friend of the Hodges family made that correction to another poster that Matthew Hodges was not Christopher Hodges brother.

This is so very sad. Matthew Hodges also was a graduate of Evans High School. He also was 26, which means that he and Christopher Hodges were school mates. He was killed in Iraq on May 19 of this year. If you scroll down, you will find his memorial on this page.
http://freedomremembered.com/index.php/category/operation-iraqi-freedom/

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/24/11 - 11:04 pm
0
0
Reading through the comments
Unpublished

Reading through the comments on this thread, I'm struck by how similar many of them are to those often proffered by neighbors, friends etc, when they discover the guy next door was a serial killer who had filled the crawl space under his house with bodies.

"We just can't believe it.............I mean he was such a NICE man!!"

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 10/24/11 - 11:25 pm
0
0
thinbluewife, raul, et al: If

thinbluewife, raul, et al: If my information is incorrect then I must say I am sorry and hope I didn't upset anyone. I have the upmost respect for law enforcement and military, and I thank them all for their service.

thinbluewife
1
Points
thinbluewife 10/25/11 - 12:08 am
0
0
I am personal friends with

I am personal friends with Christopher's family. That is not his brother. I do know he had cousins that lived here, so that could be the relation. You did not offend me, but this is an example of posting unconfirmed information.

statingthefacts2011
0
Points
statingthefacts2011 10/25/11 - 06:59 am
0
0
So many comments painting a

So many comments painting a picture of Christopher yet hardly any reference to the slain officer other than simple condolenses. Shameful. Some people get so wrapped up in trying to find "answers" or make excuses for Christopher that they seem to lose sight of what he actually did. Perhaps this post will get removed as well for reasons I would rather not speculate, at least here. I am not attacking anyone and I am not trying to provoke an argument. But please give this officer his due diligence and stop painting Christopher as some fallen angel or something. Was it PTSD? Was it his drinking? I dont know and neither do any of you. What we do know is 2 people are dead. Please try to be as concerned and compassionate for the slain officer and his family as you are for the one that took him away from eveyone that loved him and needed him.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Search of alleged dealer's home found drugs, firearms

An Augusta man who alleged sheriff's officers have used illegal steroids, some for years, came to the attention of a Richmond County Sheriff's narcotics officer twice, according to an ...
Search Augusta jobs