Originally created 09/17/00

Police dispute leads to death



A 47-year-old Grovetown man was shot and killed by a Columbia County sheriff's deputy Saturday after, police say, he fired at them from his residence.

Gary Lee Cooper of the 700 block of Cooper Road was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:29 p.m., Coroner Tommy King Sr. said.

According to sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris, Deputy Tim Powell was one of two deputies on the scene and fired the fatal shot to Mr. Cooper's chest. Capt. Morris said Deputy Powell, who has been on the force 2´ years, has been placed on administrative leave with pay during the investigation of the shooting.

No one else was injujred.

Capt. Morris said the incident occurred at about 2:45 p.m. after police escorted Mr. Cooper's girlfriend to his mobile home to pick up some of her belongings. The woman had requested the escort because of a domestic dispute the night before with Mr. Cooper. After that dispute, Mr. Cooper had been arrested on two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence, Capt. Morris said.

"Upon our arrival, there was a confrontation that then escalated to the exchange of gunfire," Capt. Morris said. He would not go into detail on what led to the confrontation at the mobile home, which is behind a house off Wrightsboro Road. He did say a gun that had been fired was found at the scene.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to the scene after the shooting and is conducting an independent investigation. Capt. Morris said the investigation by the outside agency and the placement of Deputy Powell on administrative leave are standard policy for the sheriff's office.

The body will be sent to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 110.