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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.

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allhans
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allhans 10/25/11 - 08:16 am
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Casandra. Ohmigosh! A

Casandra. Ohmigosh! A brother dying at the same young age of 26.
That would give one pause to wonder.

allhans
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allhans 10/25/11 - 08:21 am
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mwilli..The email address

mwilli..The email address your message went to is an old one.
I just tried to correct it, but wasn't able to do so.
Oh well...how do you correct an email address on this site?

allhans
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allhans 10/25/11 - 08:35 am
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I don't know if by using the

I don't know if by using the PTSD thing some of these comments are excuses for a killer or maybe saying all of our servicemen and women are dangerous. I certainly get tired of folks
"assuming" they know it all.

Terrible Tuesday..I will be alright after I have another cuppa.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 10/25/11 - 09:23 am
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I have actually seem his FB

I have actually seem his FB page through a friend of my daughters who knew him and the first comment on page 1 is incorrect. He actually has lots of pics of him and his father on his page and no recent activity on his wall from him. Besides that most young people these days are full of themselves at least that is what they want people to think. This is a tragedy, none of us knows what was on his mind when he did what he did, but it was wrong and an innocent hard working man is dead. But let's not forget that maybe he was going through something from his deployment and lets don't assume that he wasn't raised right. On his FB it looks as if his father is or was in the military also. I pray for both families as they try to deal with this tragedy, but we may never know the reasons why.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 10/25/11 - 09:34 am
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Allhans, all of our service

Allhans, all of our service members who are deployed don't suffer from PTSD but many do, and there are ways of tracking whether he was being treated for it. Many soldiers don't want anyone to know they have mental health issues for fear of not being promoted or retained when it is time to re-enlist so they think they can deal with it on their own. I certainly don't know whether this is the case with this young man, maybe he had anger issues for other reasons and I guess law enforcement with the help of the military authorities will be able to find out. Either way it should never be used as an excuse but perhaps could show a reason as to why.

allhans
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allhans 10/25/11 - 09:52 am
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still alazed..A reason yes,

still alazed..A reason yes, but we don't know the reason..so assuming is hurting our troops because it gives the mistaken impression that we should not trust them. They MIGHT have PTSD.
Excuse me, but one of my nearest and dearest is an officer in a branch of the service and I take this personally.

jlhs32
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jlhs32 10/25/11 - 09:57 am
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I haven't read all the

I haven't read all the comments. But you cannot forget that he was intoxicated. Guns plus alcohol=gasoline plus fire.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/25/11 - 10:27 am
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stating the facts - the

stating the facts - the reason so many have said so much about Christopher Hodges on this page is because this page is about Christopher Hodges. People are saying things about Deputy James D Paugh on the other pages about him. Remember, two people lost loved ones in this tragedy.

alhans - I said that Matthew Hodges was NOT his brother, but noted that they were the same age and went to the same school at the same time.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 10/25/11 - 10:34 am
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IMO, the way this article

IMO, the way this article reads and what the girlfriend had to say, seems like he got drunk, lost his temper and basically had a temper trantrum. Could be PTSD but I'd like to think he was just shooting randomly and maybe he was startled when the officer pulled up, kept his finger on the trigger when he turned around and sprayed this officer. Course this is just speculation but I would rather think this was stupidity and not evil. From what everyone has said about this being out of character for Hodges, He was drunk (and evidently to the point the girlfriend wanted out of the car), reaction time is slowed, and clear thinking is non-existant. This is evident by him taking his own life. Were his demons that bad or did he realize what he had done and saw no way out? Questions will always remain for these two families but I pray God will provide the comfort they need and hopefully in the future the answers won't seem as important as they do now. We leave it at the foot of the cross and let Christ carry the burden, otherwise we live in turmoil with the what if, or why.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 10/25/11 - 10:36 am
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Allhans, I totally agree that

Allhans, I totally agree that we don't know the reason and people are to quick to make assumptions, that is why, if you read my comment completely that you would know I said all soldiers don't have it and maybe HE had other anger issues, so I really don't know why you seem to be angry with my comment. I understand PTSD, I understand what these soldiers go through, I work with these soldiers everyday have been for 19 years now. My husband served 22 years, my son served and my daughter is about to serve so EXCUSE me but it is very personal to me.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 10/25/11 - 11:19 am
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backwards thinking. no one
Unpublished

backwards thinking. no one says all sildiers have ptsd. this soldier shot at cars on the highway, killed a cop, and killed himself. why does wondering about his trauma in war make people more scared of soldiers than not? would you who take it so personally rather we just think soldiers get drunk, fight with girlfriends and shoot the town up for no reason? this was a soldier regardless, ptsd or no.

allhans
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allhans 10/25/11 - 11:50 am
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At least then it would be the

At least then it would be the same sort of assumption as with any ordinary citizen and not limited to our troops who are serving us so well.

allhans
23645
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allhans 10/25/11 - 11:53 am
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Thank you Cassandra. The

Thank you Cassandra. The death notice link given actually appeared to make a connection.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 10/25/11 - 12:11 pm
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Of course allhans and I think

Of course allhans and I think that the majority of people have the intelligence to realize that, but when it is a service member and that service member has served in a war zone of course they are going to wonder if the behavior was caused by that. No one is trying to put all serviceme members into that same category. I think that most people know that almost all of our soldiers are good hardworking people. This is not the first time something like this has happened and sadly it will not be the last, whether they are a soldier or not.

cytoranger
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cytoranger 10/25/11 - 04:31 pm
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My little bro has had 4 tours

My little bro has had 4 tours in the sandbox and about to go again . Afghanistan this time. He has lost numerous friends and subordinates as he is in combat arms with the infantry. He had issues the second tour and freaked out one night when he came home. He had a rough time but sought help from docs and family members who were also combat vets. He is ok now and he didn't hurt anyone. While soliders are returning with issues they don't do what this solider did. Please, as a community let's not the actions ovf this guy reflect in the way we think of or respond to our returning service members. Prayers to JDs family from a vet and fellow biker

Will
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Will 10/25/11 - 05:48 pm
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Hero to zero in 2.5 secs....
Unpublished

Hero to zero in 2.5 secs....

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