Man arrested after firing toward ranger

Man arrested after firing toward ranger
Lt. Watkins
Lt. Watkins

THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) - A man is back in the Thomas County Jail after DNR officials say he fired a shot in a Ranger's direction. It happened Sunday night on a camp site on the Ocklochknee River.

The DNR is still trying to locate the gun involved in the incident.

Sunday night marked the end of gator hunting season, so one DNR Ranger was patrolling the Ocklocknee River just to make sure hunters were obeying the law.

DNR Captain Jeff Swift said, "He was doing surveillance down here in this area because we have had some complaints of some illegal hunting, some illegal fishing, down in this area."

But around nine o clock Sunday night, the Ranger saw a light near a campsite and went to get check it out.

"While he was there, he saw someone with a light. He tried to sneak up on him. That person called out a name and then fired a shot," said Thomas County Sheriff's Lt. Tim Watkins.

That person is Julian Collins. He's being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as well as reckless conduct with a firearm. Collins was on parole at the time for theft back in 2012. Thomas County Sheriff's say Collins admitted to throwing the gun into the river.

"The suspect turned and ran. He threw the spotlight down. And we were able to eventually catch the suspect at the campsite. But we've been unable at this time to retrieve the weapon," said Watkins.

Law enforcement officials who have been working since early this morning, are trying to use a magnet to recover the rifle.

The dive team was here Monday, and spent several hours looking. And today we've come back with a magnet to see if we can retrieve the weapon.

So far they haven't been able to uncover anything. They say their next step will be to bring in a side scan sonar unit to see if that will work.

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