Lumpkin-- The area around the Stewart County Courthouse remains closed as GBI officials continue to work the scene. This is one of four shooting scenes from earlier today.
In the dark of night, on the back steps of the courthouse, Marcus Dalton crouched and waited for the Lumpkin Police Chief and a sheriff's deputy to approach. When they did, Dalton opened fire on them.
The GBI director calls it a dangerous crime. "I can only state what he told the witness we interviewed," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan. "That he was going to force the police to kill him."
They say 26-year-old Marcus Dalton was looking for a shootout with police. "He is prone to violence, he is very confrontational with the police. He has made statements to officials here that he wants to be a gangster," said Keenan.
Just after 2:00AM, Dalton began firing, and shot Police Chief Jay Stripling and deputy Clinton Rivers.
When help arrived, Dalton turned his gun on EMT Vance Streeter, who was trying to help the downed officers. "EMTs rushed to the scene, as one of them was attempting to render aid to the two officer that were shot, Dalton opened fire, and shot the EMT," said Keenan. "The bullet struck him in the leg, severing an artery and the EMT nearly bled to death at the scene."
Dalton fled the courthouse, and then took hostages along Martin Luther King Street, where he once again shot at officers, striking Plains Police Chief Henry Brown, and a Sumter County deputy.
Police returned fire. "Dalton stepped away from the hostages, and the officers had an opportunity to return fire. At that point, the officers fired multiple rounds, and Dalton was struck, and subsequently died," said Keenan.
The GBI says anytime police are attacked or targeted, it's a dangerous situation. "It's very dangerous when officers are ambushed, EMTs are ambushed, and then you have a situation where Dalton is forcing a confrontation with police, and he has hostages, and they can't return fire."
Chief Stripling and deputy Rivers along with EMT Streeter all remain hospitalized in Columbus. Even though the lawmen were shot in the face, Streeter's condition is the most serious.
The CERT is mapping the shooting scene with LASERS to get the trajectory of the bullets that were fired. An estimated 35 to 50 shots were fired on the courthouse lawn, so they are trying to see just where Dalton was shooting from.