Police shoot out leaves one dead - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police shoot out leaves one dead

October 4, 2005

Newton - One officer is recovering from a gunshot wound, and the suspect is dead.

Just before midnight on Monday, Newton Police got a call of shots fired at Bullard Trailer Park. When they got there they say they tried to reason with the suspect, but before they left, they were involved in a deadly shoot out.

There are only three officers employed with Newton Police Department: James Freeman, Captain David Zigan and Chief Aubrey Suggs. Last night two of those officers went to Bullard trailer park where shots had reportedly been fired.

District Attorney Joe Mulholland says, "When they got there, they attempted to unarm the individual who was involved in the dispute that had apparently been shooting in the air. When they did so, an altercation with the officers ensued and one of them was shot in the abdomen and the face, the suspect was fatally shot by the officers in response to that."

The suspect, Hershel Bullard, was shot with a shotgun by officer Freeman. Captain Zigan was injured, but is expected to be okay. Why Bullard opened fire at all is still under investigation.

Mulholland says, "Apparently he had some problems with folks in his trailer park and was angry about a situation and officers tried to diffuse the situation as best they could."

But the situation quickly escalated. Now, one man is dead, an officer is injured and another will most likely be suspended with pay while the investigation continues.

"Whether or not any charges need to be brought forth," says Mulholland, "whether they acted appropriately, those are all things we'll be able to determine after our investigation is complete."

Though he believes the officers only acted in self-defense. He says, "Preliminary investigation shows they returned fire after being fired at."

Now, the Newton Police Department is down to one lone man, Chief Suggs, who asks for prayer for his officers and the family involved. He says, "We're going to pray for Capt. Zigan, that his recovery may be swift. We're also going to be praying for the Bullard family, this is a sad situation, sad incident, but all we can do is pray about it."

Captain David Zigan was taken to an Atlanta hospital for reconstructive surgery on his jaw. He is expected to be okay. One other note, Hershel Bullard's wife, Markeita, is running for mayor of Newton.

Chief Suggs says he'll hire part-time officers and rely on the Baker County Sheriff's Office to cover the city of Newton.

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