Augusta, GA —
Click here to view Sheriff Ronald Strength’s news conference.
**Update 9:30 a.m.**
During a press conference Sunday morning, Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said 26-year-old Christopher Michael Hodges killed himself after he shot and killed Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh.
Paugh, a 17-year law enforcement veteran, had just finished working a special assignment at the Georgia-Lina State Fair when he stopped along Bobby Jones to check out a suspicious car on the side of the road. According to Strength, the deputy didn’t even have a chance to put the kick stand on his motorcycle down before Hodges started shooting.
Sheriff Strength says evidence at the scene showed Hodges fired at least 35 rounds from his M4 semi-automatic assault rifle. Strength says he believes Hodges was drunk when the shooting happened.
Hodges girlfriend was also at the scene, investigators say right now she is being held for questioning.
Count On WJBF.com and WJBF News Channel 6 to continue to follow this breaking story and have more information once it’s available.
Augusta, GA —
Five members of Fallen Deputy J.D. Paugh’s Motorcycle squad speak to WJBF News Channel 6. Read previous article, here.
Sgt. Mark Chestang worked with Paugh for 14 years. He told us what it was like to hear the news of Paugh’s death, “I didn’t know if I was dreaming or if I was awake…and about 5-10 minutes later I made another call and they said he had been shot and passed away.” He continued saying, “It happened the way it shouldn’t have happened, he didn’t have to be there, he was off…he was coming off a special. He was going above and beyond…that’s the kind of person he was.”
Chestang went on about the kind of man Paugh was, “He was a good person. He had a huge heart. I just hate that this happened, it’s like losing a family member.” He continued, “He was just a nice guy, he was a good friend, a good co-worker, he was like a brother.”
Chestang, along with the other motorcycle deputies are leaning on eachother to stay strong, “As a police officer, you’re not supposed to show emotion, you’re supposed to be tough, but it’s not that easy, especially when it’s one of your own.
Deputy William Geisen has been with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for 5 years, 2 of those years he has been with the “motors”. Geisen was with Paugh just before he was shot and killed, “I got the privledge of working with him last night (Saturday), before the incident, the last shift with him.” I’ll miss him, I’ll just miss him,” said Geisen.
Geisen described the person Paugh was, “J.D. was a jack of all trades, he really was. He had good advice on everything. Geisen said he has one thing he wants the community to know, “J.D. saved someone’s life last night, I’m proud of him.”
Cpl. Michael Lewis described what learning the news of Paugh’s death was like, “It was a massive shock. You never prepare for something like this to happen. Lewis has worked with Paugh for the past 6 years, “J.D. is going to be hard to replace. He was a hard worker.” He described J.D’s personality, “Funny. J.D. was a character. He never ffor him to say something positive.”
Sgt. Rahul Fernandez was Paugh’s boss, “There are no words to describe this moment. I’m not just losing an officer, I’m losing a brother and a true friend.” Fernandez said Paugh was a true professional, “It’s a sad situation that we just have to face and live through it.”
Paugh leaves behind two sons.
Funeral Arrangements for Deputy James (J.D.) Paugh are as follows:
Visitation will be Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Thomas L. King Funeral Home, located at 124 Davis Road, Martinez, Georgia 30907.
Funeral Service will be Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 11:00am at First Baptist Church of Augusta, located at 3500 Walton Way Extension, Augusta, Georgia 30919. Officiating will be Dr. Rodger B. Murchison, Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church and Chaplin Ken Gross of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
Deputies are asking any law enforcement officials to please arrive at the church no later than 10:00am the day of the funeral.