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Gunshots bring end to I-20 standoff

Sunday, Aug 25, 2013 8:48 PM
Last updated Monday, Aug 26, 2013 8:46 AM
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An unidentified man was shot and killed late Sunday after pointing a gun at police following a 4-hour standoff that rerouted I-20 traffic near Grovetown.

At 10:42 p.m., a large explosion was heard coming from the bridge, followed by gunshots. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived accompanied by a Georgia State Patrol cruiser.  TRAVIS HIGHFIELD/STAFF
TRAVIS HIGHFIELD/STAFF
At 10:42 p.m., a large explosion was heard coming from the bridge, followed by gunshots. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived accompanied by a Georgia State Patrol cruiser.

WARNING: Explicit language in reaction to gunfire at the 10 second mark of the video. Viewer discretion is advised.

Columbia County authorities did not name him this morning, but said he was a 58-year-old white male from Sullivan, Ill.

The interstate was reopened on both sides, but there was no immediate word from authorities on what had occurred. What appeared to be a body was visible on an embankment near the top of the Chamblin Road overpass, with a spotlight from an ambulance shining on it.

Columbia County dispatch received a call about the suicide threat at 6:23 p.m., and police shut down both sides of the interstate from exits 183 to 193. The man was under the Cham­blin Road overpass, and that bridge was also closed.

At 10:42 p.m., after hours of no reports from authorities, a large explosion was heard coming from the bridge, followed by gunshots. Minutes later, an ambulance arrived accompanied by a Georgia State Patrol cruiser.

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seenitB4
93491
Points
seenitB4 08/26/13 - 08:33 am
5
3
Look at all sides coldbeer please

This is not a rare occurrence anymore...this happens MUCH to often in the Atlanta area now....some are sick--some are suicidal & some just don't give a rats behind about life......it isn't that people don't have compassion ....sometimes these incidents have caused deadly crashes...this is a no win situation for all.

Fiat_Lux
16205
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/26/13 - 08:45 am
7
1
@Coldbeer

When people aren't directed off the interstate before they hit the log jam for more than an hour after the mess was miles long, that is a lack of foresight and strategic planning.

More than half the cars that were stopped, at least those headed east, didn't have to be stuck. They should have been detoured at Thomson by 8 pm. How many officers would that have taken? One to park his car in a place that alerted drivers to something ahead, one to set out the detour signs? Another two or three for help along the way?

And I don't know where people were being allowed to turn around while still on the interstate, but it wasn't anywhere around us. Exit 183 was it for eastbound traffic, and there was no place to get off or turn around between Thomson and that exit except the rest stop.

I may be a Monday morning qb, but I know it wasn't impossible to deal with the traffic part of this more effectively and preemptively.

And I'm always on the side of the LEOs, btw.

seenitB4
93491
Points
seenitB4 08/26/13 - 08:44 am
5
1
And I'm always on the side of the LEOs, btw.

Well me too....haha except when they make me mad!! ♥

Fiat_Lux
16205
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/26/13 - 08:47 am
3
1
Even when they make me mad, Seenit,

and, so far, even if I don't like them or think they're doing stupid quite well. I always like to see them coming, unless they pull up right behind me with the blue light a-going. Still, I'm on their side.

seenitB4
93491
Points
seenitB4 08/26/13 - 08:58 am
2
1
That was a joke to coldbeer Fiat

He has spent many a year in law enforcement....I give to the Sheriffs Assoc 3 times a year or more....they are very important to me & I have had security/firemen in my life for YEARS....I even slept with one for 18 years...lol hahahah

smartasugarsugar
139
Points
smartasugarsugar 08/26/13 - 09:18 am
4
2
the facts are unclear, but

the facts are unclear, but this is what is know he is or was a 58 year old man. from that bit of knowledge we can assume that hes done ok for quite some time. what's happened to push him to this who know but mental health and help for it is limited for a great portion of Americans and for some the care we do get is brief or inadequate. as for the police doing what they do, i would like to continue to have faith in our judicial system and our supporting departments. if they had to put him down i certainly think they didn't do it lightly. as for the comments using terms like loon or whatever, its what people do label stuff so they can simplify it for them selves and others. unfortunately sometimes it doesn't feel go to be the one labeled.

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 08/26/13 - 09:31 am
1
2
Pops

yes...at the corner by Kings Grant

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 08/26/13 - 09:33 am
7
1
I will add this too...

A lifelong friend was killed by a person with mental illness who then took his own life. Perhaps you have heard his name around town....J.D. Paugh. I felt compassion for the shooters family but more for J.D.'s family. A great man who was just doing his duty.

storiesihaveread
358
Points
storiesihaveread 08/26/13 - 09:33 am
5
3
I think the outcome could

I think the outcome could have been different. Even though I am not one who can say yes or no. Since I have no law enforcement exp. This four hour stand off could have lasted 1 hour tops. They should have used rubber bullets, flash grenades, bean bags rounds etc to distract the man long enought to take control of the situation. As far as people turning around taking a back road sure that would work of you know the area. Out of towners would have been lost. Let the bashing begin

whyme
2070
Points
whyme 08/26/13 - 09:38 am
3
7
follow-up

Found the above comments expected given the way most people think these days. Calling the man selfish for supposedly seeking attention in the way in which he chose to take his life, complaining of the huge inconvenience that was put upon them, and otherwise joking or minimizing the situation as a whole. And for those of you with experience in the mental health field, you should be even more compassionate than it appears you are. It's probably a good thing that you or your family member is no longer working with this population. The bad thing about mental illness is that it is not a heartwarming, compassion-attracting condition, unlike cancer, heart disease, or the like. People who are struck with it can be dangerous, scary, disheveled, or bizarre. If you have a choice between helping a young mother with cancer and a young mother with mental illness, we all know who will most likely get the assistance. So as long as society continues to react in the way so many of you did when you were stuck in traffic waiting for a person to get his suicide over with, I just pray that you are never put in that position. How fortunate we are that we have the liberty to make fun, express our opinions in disrespectful ways, usually at the expense of a fellow human being. This isn't the first time this has happened, thanks to the Chronicle, and it won't be the last, I'm sure.

pearlthesquirrel
786
Points
pearlthesquirrel 08/26/13 - 09:42 am
1
0
????
Unpublished

He's from Sullivan, Illinois? That's about 40 miles south of Champaign, Illinois and at least 14 (?) hours from here. Why is he near Grovetown?

seenitB4
93491
Points
seenitB4 08/26/13 - 09:47 am
4
1
About caring

My family cared so much about the patients that they brought one into their home & fed --clothed him for over 25 years...have any of you done more??

The ONLY vacations he ever had were the vacations he shared with my parents....it is easy to throw stones when you don't know the full picture....do the same & get back with me...btw...we all cared dearly about this man....Virgil was his name.

GnipGnop
12692
Points
GnipGnop 08/26/13 - 09:54 am
6
3
It is not

selfish to expect to go to a movie or take your kids to school without being shot by some deranged person....let it touch your life and then come back and tell me how much compassion you have. I haven't denigrated the person that caused all this last night one iota. I have compassion for his family's loss and the struggle they will deal with but if you want selfish then look no further than his act.

Fiat_Lux
16205
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/26/13 - 10:06 am
5
2
Nobody has made fun of this man,

and as far as I can see, everyone has sympathy especially for his loved ones. But the reality is that he endangered other people and not just the LEOs who were confronting him. Going 70-80 mph and suddenly, blindly coming upon totally stopped traffic is unbelievably dangerous. That has an impact on one's perspective. People have died in huge fiery crashes because of just this kind of traffic stall out. But for the grace of God, it could have happened last night, because there was absolutely no warning.

I'm pretty well informed about mental illness in especially these parts and I understand how irrational the distraught and the mentally ill can be. The problem is the paucity of strategies for dealing with them, especially when they become public menaces, this latest being a case in point.

The compassion has to be balanced by a respect for the reality that life continues to go on outside and around this one sad event.

The problem we have is that we don't deal with the match; we either ignore it or we tolerate it until it burns itself up and burns down the forest as well. It's not a perfect analogy, but the lack of will to deal effectively with seriously troubled or problematic people much earlier in their downward journey is what is costing us badly, here and in Newtown.

And some people simply cannot be helped. They should, however, be contained.

LillyfromtheMills
14019
Points
LillyfromtheMills 08/26/13 - 10:13 am
1
3
Fiat - I'm seeing double

Call that emergency lady in Columbia Co - she'll tell them how to direct traffic properly!

Darby
28343
Points
Darby 08/26/13 - 10:39 am
2
2
"It's the cold realities of things like an inability

of getting heart attack victims and trauma victims past the totally stalled out traffic, FOR HOURS."

Didn't Bubba Clinton shut down a California airport for over two hours so he could get a haircut?

HE wasn't crazy was he?

Bizkit
34269
Points
Bizkit 08/26/13 - 02:30 pm
4
1
Pedophilia is a form of

Pedophilia is a form of mental illness I don't see they get a lot of compassion. Mentally ill people kill normal folks all the time too so I should show them compassion and ignore compassion for those who needlessly died? Where the compassion for the all the hundreds of folks who were late or missed opportunities or maybe even missed a love one dying in the hospital because of the "loon"? And whose to say the man is mentally ill? He may have terminal cancer and wanted to die-that isn't insane. The mentally ill don't need sympathy they need help. However even with help- a third will not improve, a third may improve some, and a third may mostly improve. I had a family member who was a shrink. Brilliant but weird as the day is long-I've always thought being a loon is qualification for becoming a psychiatrist.

LillyfromtheMills
14019
Points
LillyfromtheMills 08/26/13 - 04:58 pm
3
1
Now the only place

We have for the mentally ill is prison - a judge told me that

itsanotherday1
46851
Points
itsanotherday1 08/26/13 - 08:11 pm
0
1
I agree with the person who

I agree with the person who said the LEO's did not manage this forcefully and quickly enough. It is Monday morning quarterbacking for sure; but one would think that with the tools at hand this man could have been quickly neutralized and taken into custody for treatment.

corgimom
36567
Points
corgimom 08/26/13 - 08:37 pm
1
0
AL, you go across the median.

AL, you go across the median.

I don't know about you, but I've seen many people do it, without a traffic backup, under normal conditions, and it's scary to see!

Police officers do it all the time. If you go slow, you don't damage your car.

But AL, you don't understand. Traffic was stopped on both sides of the freeway. The people that made U-turns across the median weren't dealing with oncoming freeway traffic, it had been stopped.

corgimom
36567
Points
corgimom 08/26/13 - 08:45 pm
1
0
OF COURSE that man wasn't

OF COURSE that man wasn't thinking of other people, he was suicidal. He wasn't rational. He wasn't thinking straight. Why would anybody think that he would understand the idea that he was causing problems for others?

If somebody is sick enough to want to end their life, the last thing they are thinking about is inconveniencing other people.

How that man must have suffered. What a horrible way to die.

And usually when somebody gets to that point, they have attempted suicide before, and failed, and then they decide not to fail.

As for freeway backups, hey, Fiat Lux, don't ever come to Charlotte. We have them daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. They are an everyday occurance here. Every newscast tells you whether or not there is a backup and how to get around it. Same with other big cities.

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