Originally created 07/12/01

Sheriff's deputy wounded in drug raid



A Richmond County sheriff's deputy was shot early today during a drug raid at a home near North Leg Shopping Center.

Investigator James Tredore, 31, was in good condition at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital shock trauma unit this morning. His life was saved by the bullet-proof vest that stopped a .357 Magnum bullet, said Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

Investigator Tredore underwent exploratory surgery early today to determine the extent of injuries to internal organs caused by the force of the bullet,which rammed part of the vest into his lower right abdomen.

Charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and misdemeanor possession of marijuana is Dennis Lee Richardson, 36, of the 1700 block of Fairwood Drive. Police also arrested Samuel Vincent Hodge, 25, of the same address, and charged him with trafficking in cocaine and marijuana possession, according to the sheriff.

Police said that Mr. Richardson shot Investigator Tredore when the officer entered the residence at 1:14 a.m. and forced open the door of a locked bedroom. After the investigator was wounded, Investigator Mike Williamson entered and Investigator Tredore pointed to the closet where Mr. Richardson was hiding, Sheriff Strength said.

Investigator Williamson ordered Mr. Richardson to drop his weapon, and when he did not the officer fired one shot from his .40-caliber Glock, which struck the wall. Mr. Richardson then threw his weapon to the floor and surrendered, the sheriff said.

Officers searched the residence and seized about 8 ounces of powder cocaine, a small amount of marijuana and a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun, they said.

Two other people in the house were questioned and released. They are Johnnie Lee Smallwood, 24, who also lives at the Fairwood Drive residence, and his 16-year-old girlfriend, who will be charged with disorderly conduct and turned over to juvenile authorities, Sheriff Strength said.

Narcotics officers had suspected illegal drug activity at the house and had been watching it for quite a while before today's raid, Sheriff Strength said.

Mr. Richardson was arrested in April and charged with shoplifting and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Mr. Hodge has been in the Richmond County Jail more than a dozen times during the past six years, charged with various misdemeanors. He was arrested in January and charged with reckless conduct.