Investigations of shootings involving officers continue

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues to look into shootings involving three Richmond County sheriff's deputies.

Agent Gary Nicholson said his agency continues to review information for cases involving deputies Jose Ortiz, Michael Hodge and Scott White.

On Dec. 15, Deputies Hodge and Ortiz were working in the Cherry Tree Crossing housing development and tried to stop Justin Elmore's SUV, suspecting he had drugs. According to police, Mr. Elmore, 23, rammed the deputies' vehicle in an attempt to get away. The officers fired, killing Mr. Elmore. The shooting set off a near riot in the Cherry Tree Crossing area and created tensions that had authorities on edge for days.

Both deputies have been placed on desk duty. Deputy Ortiz has been working for the sheriff's property crimes division, and Deputy Hodge has been working in the quartermaster's office, according to sheriff's Internal Affairs Sgt. Pat Young.

Agent Nicholson said the findings of the investigation will be submitted to the district attorney's office when it is finished, but he gave no date.

"We're still waiting on some reports back from the FBI on that one," he said, referring to squad-car videotapes sent away for enhancement.

The GBI is still gathering information in the case of Deputy White, who shot Georgette Reid in a Christmas Day hostage situation on Sunny Day Road in Hephzibah.

Ms. Reid was fighting with her live-in girlfriend when she struck her in the head with a hammer and took her 4-year-old son hostage with a knife. As Deputy White entered the room, he shot Ms. Reid in the shoulder and pulled the boy away.

Deputy White is back on full duty with the sheriff's K-9 unit, Sgt. Young said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.