Wild shooting incident ends without bodily harm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wild shooting incident ends without bodily harm

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April 7, 2008

  Lee County --  A man people called an ordained preacher is in jail after police say he opened fire on a Lee County family and a Smithville Police Officer late Saturday night.

Fortunately no one was hit by any of those bullets on Livingston Road near Smithville. But those bullets did have a family scared for their lives, as authorities spent hours searching for the gunman.     

Along a dark stretch of dirt road just outside Smithville, a gunman was on the loose, and neighbors feared for their lives.

  "Everything is just scary about it," said neighbor Santonio Nichols.

And family members are concerned about their loved ones. "I want to know if they're around my son and my sister down there," Sharon Cooper said.

A police car blocked a stretch of Livingston Road where this quiet farming community was disrupted around 10 o'clock Saturday night.

Neisha Brown and her young niece and nephew were inside their mobile home when a gunman opened fire.  "I looked out the window and he had shot and the dogs start barking all of a sudden. Then after that, he pulled off and came back up there and he was standing up there. So I called the Policeman to come up there," Brown said.

"So when the police came we came out there to check on the dogs, but the man was standing over there in the bushes. He shot at us again so we ran in the house."

But when Smithville Police officer Gene Bryant arrived on the scene, the gunman, hidden in pitch black darkness, didn't stop shooting. "He shot at the policeman," Brown said. "So I called the dispatch and she told us to lay down until somebody get there."

Law enforcement from throughout Lee County stepped up patrols in the area, searching for an active shooter, not knowing where or what he was capable of doing next. 

"All these police cars was down there and they was getting their shot guns out of the car," said Neighbor Ruby Hawkins.

After a seven-hour manhunt, deputies tracked down the shooter, 44-year-old Richard Hagar at his home on Childers Road. He's being held in the Lee County Jail, facing several charges.

With day light revealing the gunshots that pierced Browns mobile home, she realizes how lucky everyone is to be alive.

She said she did a lot of praying while she was lying down, and those prayers didn't go unanswered. Hagar faces several charges including aggravated assault on a police officer with a firearm.  

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