Originally created 09/09/06

Across the area



GBI investigates suspect shooting

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting of a man by a Wadley, Ga., police officer Friday, officials said.

Gary Nicholson, the special agent in charge of the GBI's Thomson office, said the incident happened around noon at a home in the 100 block of Hudson Circle in Wadley, a town of more than 2,000 people in south Jefferson County.

A police officer, whose name Agent Nicholson would not divulge but other officials identified as Cpl. Don Meadows, tried to stop a man, Walter Victor Graham Jr., 51, who resembled a suspect in a shoplifting. When the officer tried to approach Mr. Graham, he made "threatening moves" and the officer fired once.

Agent Nicholson said Mr. Graham was in surgery at Medical College of Georgia Hospital for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hospital officials said they could not provide information on him.

No charges had been filed as of late Friday afternoon. Once the investigation is complete, it will be forwarded to the local district attorney for review. Cpl. Meadows has been temporarily relieved of duty during the investigation.

Wadley Police Chief Paul Jordan did not return a telephone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

Police say shooting is linked to cocaine

A 36-year-old Aiken man was shot early Friday morning and his home ransacked in what the Aiken County Sheriff's Office is calling a drug-related crime.

Jeffery Battle, of Old Pope Road, was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital after being shot in the shoulder and leg, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities say that about 1:30 a.m., two men kicked open Mr. Battle's front door, ransacked the home and demanded money.

One was armed with a rifle, and Mr. Battle was shot.

Sheriff Mike Hunt said in a news release that investigators found crack cocaine in Mr. Battle's home.

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Kevin Liles at (800) 922-9709, or Crimestoppers of the Midlands at (888) 559-TIPS to be eligible for a reward.

School board member won't seek re-election

Valerie Towles, an Aiken County School Board member representing District 2, will not defend her seat Nov. 7.

Petition filing for school board candidates in Districts 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 ended at 3 p.m. Friday. Ms. Towles is the only incumbent who did not file, said Stuart Bedenbaugh, the Aiken County Registrations and Elections executive director.

"My family and I are anticipating moving to North Augusta in the year," Ms. Towles said.

Districts 6 and 7 are uncontested, while other districts will see fresh faces vying for a board member position.

The candidates are:

- Vicki Simons and Levi Green, District 2;

- Wesley Hightower and Larry Murphy (incumbent), District 3;

- Ray Fleming and Tom Goforth (incumbent), District 5;

- Christine Sanders (incumbent), District 6; and

- Rosemary English (incumbent), District 7.

Woman is assaulted in church parking lot

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are investigating the sexual assault of a woman in a west Augusta church parking lot early Friday morning.

The 28-year-old woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that she had met a man at a nightclub who took her to get something to eat, then to Lake Olmstead to walk and talk, Lt. James Young said.

According to a police report, at about 3 a.m., the man drove her to the parking lot of Open Arms Baptist Church in the 1100 block of Marks Church Road and threatened her with a box cutter before raping her.

Lt. Young said she suffered several cuts and bruises from where the man struck her and from where he had dragged her in the parking lot.

The lieutenant said the case remained under investigation Friday afternoon.

Deposit for hospital shop taken from car

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are investigating the theft of a high-dollar bank deposit for a Doctors Hospital gift shop, a police report states.

Sometime between 12:10 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Thursday, someone took a Wachovia bank bag with $2,169 in cash and checks from a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe parked in the Doctors Hospital parking lot.

Woman says handgun taken from laundry

An elderly Augusta woman told Richmond County sheriff's deputies that someone stole a handgun she had taken with her to a Laundromat, a police report states.

The 70-year-old woman told police that after 5 a.m. Thursday, while she was at Sunshine Laundry in the 1900 block of Kissingbower Road, she left her .25-caliber handgun in a buggy while she washed clothes, and then left briefly.

When she came back, the gun was gone.

Meeting on dismissal of Larke is canceled

The meeting called to discuss Superintendent Charles Larke and the grounds for his dismissal has been canceled.

The Richmond County Board of Education had called a special meeting for 5 p.m. Monday to discuss the charge letter being drafted as part of the termination process.

According to an e-mail sent by the board secretary, members couldn't attend a Monday meeting because of previous engagements. The meeting is expected to be rescheduled for later in the week.

Traffic to shift on Industrial Park Drive

Southbound traffic on Industrial Park Drive in Evans will not be allowed to turn left onto Washington Road from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday while asphalt work is completed on Industrial Park.

Also as part of the construction work, traffic will be shifted from lane to lane several times during the day, according to a Columbia County news release.

Eastbound traffic on Washington Road should remain southbound on Industrial Park through the intersection with Washington and continue southbound on North Belair Road to the Towne Centre Drive and Hereford Farm Road intersection.

Traffic should then turn left onto Towne Centre and continue eastbound to its intersection with Washington.

Water work to close section of Davis Road

Davis Road will be closed from Washington Road to Pleasant Home Road beginning Monday through Wednesday while waterline crossing and tie-in work is done from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

During this time, Davis will be open only to local traffic, according to a Georgia Department of Transportation release.

Motorists are asked to use caution in the area.

- From staff reports