11/30/2005

Man found shot dead after Ga. standoff

DAVID A. MARKIEWICZ, DON PLUMMER

Copyright 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

To his neighbors, David Payne was "a law-and-order kind of guy," an ex-cop from Baltimore, he told them.

The real David Payne was a break-the-law kind of guy, court records show, a troubled man with a history of legal scrapes dating back at least three decades.

The kind who could shoot a sheriff's deputy trying to serve him a warrant on a shoplifting charge, police said Tuesday, then turn a gun on himself after an all-night standoff.

The tear-gas-laced attack on Payne's modest ranch-style home shattered the peace in his east Cobb County neighborhood.

Payne, 64, died between 2 and 3 a.m. Tuesday after shooting himself, police said. About five hours earlier, Payne had responded to police arriving at his home by firing a .38-caliber pistol, striking Cobb sheriff's Deputy Christopher Lee in the chest.

Lee, 34, remained in intensive care in stable condition Tuesday night following surgery, said Cobb sheriff's spokeswoman Nancy Bodiford.

Payne's wife, Pari, and their two daughters were not at home during the incident.

Lee and another deputy arrived at Payne's home on Oak Forest Circle about 9:45 p.m. Monday, Bodiford said. The warrant they were serving on Payne was for allegedly stealing $202.47 worth of vitamins, shampoo, foot spray, face wash and aspirin from a Marietta Kroger grocery store.

Neighbors, who knew nothing of Payne's legal problems, were stunned at the events but acknowledged that they had had little contact with him over the seven years he had lived there.

"He was kind of a loner," said Bill Langdon, 60, who knew Payne through his two sons who cut Payne's grass and did yard work for him. "As far as I knew him, he was a very nice individual," an observation shared by other neighbors.

Several neighbors recalled Payne saying he had lived in Philadelphia and Baltimore and had been a police officer. Spokesmen for the Baltimore city and Baltimore county police departments said Tuesday that they had no record of Payne having worked there. The Philadelphia police also said Payne did not serve on that police force.

Payne did have contact with Baltimore police, however. In 1972 he was arrested for assault there, according to his interstate criminal record.

That was just one of several incidents. In 1985, Payne was arrested by Atlanta police for carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a pistol without a license. He was fined $250 and sentenced to 12 months probation, according to state records.

Since April 2001, police have been called to his residence at least three times, said Cobb police records supervisor Lt. T.R. Alexander. The police calls concerned allegations of cruelty to children, Alexander said.

In September 2002, Payne was arrested by Cobb sheriff's deputies after employees at a Marietta print shop called police. Payne had asked them to produce false law enforcement credentials and a certificate stating that Payne had a first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, according to court records.

Payne was sentenced in February 2004 to two years of probation, records state.

Staff writer Mike Morris contributed to this article. 

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