Tifton Gazette

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December 24, 2013

Young man shot several times at Fitzgerald business

FITZGERALD — A shooting at a Ben Hill County business Monday night resulted in a young college student being shot multiple times.

Chief Investigator Patrick Hogan at the Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office told The Tifton Gazette Tuesday afternoon in a phone interview that at 7:30 p.m. Monday, 911 received a call from the clerk at 107 Express, located at 178 Benjamin Hill Drive, saying he had been shot. He gave a brief description of the suspect and his vehicle.

Authorities arrived on the scene and found the clerk bleeding from gunshot wounds to the head, arm and hand. Hogan said the clerk, who’s a college student working part time at the store, appeared to have been shot multiple times. However, he was conscious and able to give authorities a statement.

Hogan said the clerk explained that the suspect, a black male, entered the store and just started shooting. During the investigation, he said they got a general description of the suspect who appeared to be in his 20s and the vehicle that he was seen leaving the scene in — a white semi-truck and tractor trailer.

Hogan said they conducted a manhunt for the semi after they were able to identify the markings on the tractor trailer and put out a lookout for it on Interstate 75. He noted the suspect appeared to be an over-the-road truck driver. He said they received a lot of input from neighboring law enforcement agencies, but at the time, it didn’t lead to anyone being contained.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, he said a Fitzgerald police officer called in and said he had contact with a semi similar to the one that was on the lookout. The officer, along with a Ben Hill County deputy, conducted a stop on the semi and the driver was identified.

Hogan said this led to them taking the subject into custody to continue their investigation with him as a suspect. He noted the suspect has not been charged yet but is being held at the Ben Hill County Jail pending the outcome of the investigation.

The clerk was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance following Monday’s shooting for treatment. As of Tuesday afternoon, Hogan said he was still at the hospital receiving treatment, but it appeared that he was going to be OK.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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