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ELDORADO — A GoFundMe account has been started for a Tift County deputy who was injured in a shooting incident.

Deputy Robert Owens was shot June 4 in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect in the 1400 block of Tifton Eldorado Road, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation statement said.

Deputies were responding to a report of two men causing a disturbance; the men were charged with theft by receiving stolen property and one, Justin H. Freeman, 40, of Robbins, N.C., also faces a charge of felony aggravated assault against law enforcement officer when engaged on official duty and two counts of felony use of a firearm during commission of a crime, the Tift County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Freeman was also wounded by gunfire, but both he and Deputy Owens were discharged from the hospital, officials said.

The Deputy Robert Owens Recovery Fund was set up at GoFundMe by Oren Ross on June 6, and had raised about $7,000 early in the week.

Ross, originally from Tifton, is an estate planning lawyer in Alpharetta who has known Owens from childhood.

“He (is) the nicest guy I’ve ever known,” Ross said of the deputy. “He’s always laughing, always smiling.”

Ross said some people call Owens “the man with nine lives” for surviving a motorcycle wreck and returning from duty in Afghanistan.

Owens has a wife, a daughter and a stepson, Ross said.

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