WALB speaks to deputy who caught murder suspect - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

WALB speaks to deputy who caught murder suspect

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email | twitter

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek couldn't say enough good things about the help he got from other law enforcement agencies last night.

That immediate and overwhelming response helped catch the suspect quickly.

WALB talked with the deputy who actually found the accused gunman and with neighbors who were caught in the crossfire.

Some may call Cpl. Tommy Bruce a hero for catching the man suspected of killing a police officer-putting other innocent lives out of potential danger. He says it's his job.

"When you sign up you know the risks and you constantly have to be thinking," said Cpl. Bruce.

He rushed to Nob Hill Mobile Home Estates after Lt. Cliff Rouse was shot. Some neighbors say the shootout left bullet holes in their homes.

One went through the headboard of a bed in Gloria Burgess's mother-in-law's house.

"There are kids out here it's just dangerous," said Burgess

Soon after Lt. Rouse had been shot, Cpl. Bruce rushed over to B & S Mobile Home Estates next door searching for the gunman.

Neighbors say he knocked on the door asking for a ride. They shut the door and later saw him walking near the mobile home where deputies found him.

Dozens of officers put their lives in danger searching for Thomas in the pitch black. Cpl. Bruce spotted him under the trailer on lot 28 along with evidence from the robbery.

"I used the spotlight from my flashlight which was a big help and he was blinded by the light so if he tried to shoot at least he would have less of a chance of hitting me," said Bruce.

Dougherty County sheriff Kevin Sproul praises Bruce's bravery and, at the same time, remembers the fallen lieutenant who was like a brother on the force.

"We all will miss him," said Sproul. "Lt. Rouse was a wonderful person and it will be very difficult to replace someone like him."

It will be hard to replace a hero killed while protecting the community he serves.

Sheriff Sproul says the last death in the Sheriff's office was November 1988 when two deputies died in a car crash.

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