Man identified in Worth Co. death investigation

GBI Investigate Pebble Lane Death

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - The Worth County Sheriff’s Office has called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to handle a death investigation on Pebble Lane, in Worth County.

Sheriff Don Whitaker identified the deceased as James Joe West, 62.

Whitaker told WALB that his deputies went to serve 10 arrest warrants on West.

WALB was told those arrest warrants were from alleged sexual offenses.

Whitaker said West met deputies at the door with a pistol in his hand.

The sheriff said west did not point it at deputies or fire any shots, but backed into the house and locked the doors.

“As he went in and backed away from the door, we had to take other measures to try to get him out of the residence,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker said West would not answer their requests to come out, and after surrounding the home, deputies used gas to try to get him to come out.

“They hid down behind their vehicles, they were running through the woods back there,” said the woman.

For nearly seven minutes deputies said they tried to talk to West through a loud speaker, and even used gas explosives in an effort to get him out.

Deputies said they then heard a loud noise and moved into the home.

That’s when they said they found West dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound.

“People are under a lot of stress and so forth and they feel like they are at the end of the road so to speak,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker said it didn’t look like West wanted to hurt the deputies, because he didn’t raise or fire the gun at them.

Residents respond to the death

Serving arrest warrants turned into a death investigation for deputies Thursday, after they said a man barricaded himself inside his Worth County home.

Residents said the situation could have ended way worse, but Whitaker said he wishes it had ended differently.

“This situation was different simply because the individual presented a weapon at the doorway, which is an immediate threat to any officer or anybody standing out front,” said Whitaker.

Through the trees in front of the home on Pebble Lane, one neighbor said she saw the situation unfold.

“There was a lot of screaming like, ‘Come out, come here.’ It was kind of hard to hear with all the dogs barking in the neighborhood,” said a woman who did not want to be identified.

She said she’s relieved no one else was hurt.

“He didn’t come running out going crazy shooting people,” said the woman.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still investigating this case.

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