10/23/2011

Officials: Soldier kills deputy, then self in Ga.

Evidence shows Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, fired 35 rounds

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A National Guardsman who appeared to be drunk and had been firing at passing cars shot and killed a sheriff's deputy, then committed suicide alongside a Georgia road, authorities said Sunday.

Evidence shows Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, fired 35 rounds from his M4 semiautomatic rifle, said Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength. The Augusta Chronicle reports that Hodges and 47-year-old Deputy James D. Paugh were found dead on the side of Bobby Jones Expressway after 1 a.m. Sunday.

Hodges was based with the Tennessee National Guard but was on temporary duty at Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia for training, said Buz Yarnell, a spokesman for the military post. Yarnell said he was not aware of any problems with Hodges before the shooting, and he would not say if Hodges had previously been deployed overseas.

Strength said Paugh was off duty and on his way home when he saw a suspicious car on the side of the road. He was shot several times when he stopped to check on the car and apparently fired two shots from his service weapon before he was killed.

"He was just checking that car. He pulled over his motorcycle and didn't even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him," the sheriff said.

Authorities said Hodges had been having some sort of dispute with his girlfriend, though it does not appear Paugh knew about that.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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