Originally created 08/22/06

Deputy, inmate are wounded in shootings at courthouse



JEFFERSON, Ga. - A sheriff's deputy and a jail inmate were shot Monday during an incident outside the Jackson County Courthouse.

The deputy suffered wounds to the abdomen, left arm and right leg, but they did not appear to be life-threatening, said Dr. Leon Haley Jr., the chief of the emergency room at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where the deputy was taken by helicopter.

He described the deputy's condition as "guarded at best," but not critical.

He said the deputy was speaking to medical personnel before he was taken into surgery.

The condition of the inmate, who was taken the Athens Regional Medical Center, was not immediately known. Police Chief John Ward III said the inmate had been arrested in Jefferson last week and charged with armed robbery.

The incident was still under investigation. Chief Ward said he did not known what happened.

Three hours after the shootings, sheriff's deputies were prowling outside the majestic three-story courthouse, and yellow police tape was strung up around the road where the shootings took place. A team of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents was on the scene.

The Athens Banner-Herald said the inmate shot the deputy as he was transporting prisoners between the courthouse and a nearby jail.

Another deputy then shot the inmate, the newspaper reported.

Officials could not immediately say whether the inmate shot the deputy with his own gun.

Television helicopters circling the courthouse focused their cameras on a deputy's van that had left the road and had been driven into a chain-link fence along a lane leading up to the building. The van's windshield had three bullet holes.

The courthouse was locked down immediately after the shooting, which occurred at 4:40 p.m., but the offices were reopened soon after when it was apparent the incident was over, County Manager Crandall Jones said.

Jefferson is about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, not far from Interstate 85.