A situation here in Troup County turned very scary on the afternoon of Monday, January 9 as local law enforcement had a standoff with a man after he shot a Sheriff’s Deputy. Earlier that morning, Sheriff James Woodruff swore in his morning shift Deputies and gave them their morning briefing in which he told them all to be so very careful. Little did any of them know the situation that was about to unfold just a few hours later.
Early that morning around noon, Deputy Michael Hockett responded to a scene on Jackson Street in West Point for a welfare check. As Hockett approached the residence, the front gate was locked so he approached the house from around the fence. It was at that time that an unknown male exited the house and began firing at the deputy. Hockett ran for cover.
The individual got into his truck and rode over near the deputy’s location and continued firing. Hockett announced that he was a Sheriff’s Deputy, but the man continued to fire. Hockett fired back and struck the individual. After he was hit, the man returned to his truck and fled back to his home, barricading himself in. Hockett had been struck by gunfire, as well, but was able to retreat to his car and call for back up.
The situation was tense when other officials and law enforcement officers arrived. The scene was frenzy all afternoon, with law enforcement, media, and locals all gathering around the scene. Later that afternoon Sheriff James Woodruff came down from the scene to give an update on the situation around 4 pm.
Sheriff Woodruff said Hockett’s injuries were not life threatening. He had been struck with some shotgun pellets in the forehead, arm, elbow, and hand. He was transported to Wellstar/West Georgia Medical Center where he was treated and released after 5 pm that afternoon. Sheriff Woodruff also stated they were in negotiations with the suspect and that they did not know where he had been shot or in what condition he was in.
The afternoon continued on in a tense and scary standoff. The news copter flew over head and people on the scene were buzzing. After a few cold and strenuous hours, the announcement came that the suspect had been taken into custody. Sheriff Woodruff once again came down for another report.
The suspects name was Matthew Edmondson, age 28. The Sheriff’s office had in the past performed other welfare checks on this individual whose family stated that he was not always in the best of mental health. In fact, Edmondson and his family had actually met with the Sheriff at his office before on an unrelated issue.
The Sheriff stated additionally that the only motive for the shooting was that Edmondson believed the deputy had no right to be on his property and that he was protecting his family’s farm. After speaking on the phone with his friends and family, Edmondson finally surrendered around 6:30 that afternoon.
Fortunately, this very tense situation was handled with poise and care from all the local agencies, agencies that included the Sheriff’s Office, the LaGrange Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, the GBI, and others that worked hand in hand.
With the string of Officers being shot and killed all around the Country, luckily for us this situation was handled with care and the best possible outcome was found. Both the deputy and the suspect are expected to make a full recovery.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer