Originally created 12/30/04

Across Georgia



Gunfight kills police officer after chase

JEFFERSON - A police officer was shot and killed Wednesday night in a gunfight after a chase of a pickup on U.S. Highway 129 in Jackson County in northeast Georgia, authorities said.

Police said the Pendergrass police officer was chasing a pickup carrying two men when it went off the road and overturned. As the officer approached, shots were fired. The officer and one of the men were hit. Both suspects reportedly fled and were later arrested after a manhunt.

The officer was pronounced dead at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, and the wounded suspect was hospitalized in stable condition.

Lane gets judicial center named for him

RENO, NEV. - Former judge, boxing referee and TV personality Mills Lane was honored Tuesday near the site of a justice center in Reno that will be named for him.

Mr. Lane, 67, who suffered a stroke nearly three years ago, took part in the ceremonies but did not speak. The ceremony for the Savannah, Ga., native took place in the court building next to the site of the future Mills B. Lane Justice Center, which will house Reno's municipal courts and district attorney offices. Mr. Lane formerly served as Washoe County district attorney and district court judge.

He officiated 102 championship fights, including the 1997 heavyweight match in which Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear. He also was a TV judge from 1998-2001 on a reality show.

Man, toddler son are found shot to death

LILBURN - A 37-year-old man and his toddler son were found shot to death Wednesday in their suburban Atlanta home, and his wife was hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound.

Hung Thai and Hugh Thai, 2, were each shot once in the head, investigators said.

Gwinnett County Police spokesman Cpl. Dan Huggins identified the woman as Hoangoanh Ta, 37.

There was no sign of forced entry or robbery, but initially police were unable to find a weapon, leading police to believe it was not a murder-suicide, Cpl. Huggins said.

Toddler dies in blaze from smoke inhalation

COLUMBUS - A 3-year-old boy died Monday night when he ran back into a fire- and smoke-filled apartment, Columbus fire officials said.

Vantavis Chestain Powell died from smoke and soot inhalation in the 9:30 p.m. fire that authorities say was started by a blanket thrown over an electric space heater.

The toddler was staying with his aunt, Audrey Kennedy, 23, and her three children, said Jeff Meyer, the assistant chief of the Columbus Fire and Emergency Medical Services.