Ga. inmate dies after failed courthouse escape that left deputy wounded


By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON, Georgia- An inmate died at a hospital early Tuesday after a failed escape attempt in which he grabbed a deputy's gun and wounded him and was then gunned down as he drove away in a police van.

Deputy Kimsey Gray was transporting four prisoners in chains and leg irons from the Jackson County Courthouse when one of them grabbed a gun and shot him, authorities said.

The inmate sped away, with the injured deputy with him in the van, but got only about 100 yards (90 meters) before he was shot by two other deputies, Sheriff Stan Evans said.

The inmate, Timothy Lemar Jones, was taken to a hospital in Athens, Georgia. He died early Tuesday morning, said hospital spokeswoman Elaine Cook.

Gray, a 14-year veteran, suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen, left arm and right leg and was in stable condition Tuesday at a hospital in Atlanta, authorities said.

The sheriff said Jones, 28, was arrested in Jefferson last week and charged with armed robbery.

Evans said the deputy had followed policy that requires that inmates be transported with belly chains and leg irons and be accompanied by an officer.

He said that among other things, investigators were trying to determine whether the other prisoners had a role in the escape attempt.

Television reports showed the van crashed into a chain-link fence along a lane leading to the courthouse, with three bullet holes in the windshield.

Jefferson is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta.

It was the third courthouse shooting in Georgia in less than 18 months.

In March 2005, a judge, court reporter and sheriff's deputy were killed at the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta. Brian Nichols, who was on trial for rape at the time, is charged. And in August 2005, a man wounded a police chief, a deputy and a paramedic outside the Stewart County Courthouse in Lumpkin, Georgia. The gunman, Marcus Dalton, was killed three hours later in a gunbattle nearby.

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