High-speed chase ends with a shootout near Lamar County High School

Image 1 of 9

A man accused of stalking his estranged wife led deputies on a high-speed chase through Lamar County which forced local schools to be placed on lockdown and ended in a shootout, according to investigators.

Lamar County Sheriff Brad White said Tyler Walker Pitts, of Upson County, was wounded during a shootout with deputies at the end of a high-speed chase Thursday afternoon. He is expected to be released from Macon Medical Center either Thursday night or Friday morning and will be formally arrested at that time, according to White.

SKYFOX 5 spotted deputies combing over the scene around the maroon Suburban along O’Neil Street in between Peacock Street and Trojan Way at the end of the chase. Sheriff White said Pitts was driving the SUV when he led officers on the nearly 6-mile chase which began off Freeman Road. That is where deputies said they found Pitts in the driver’s seat of the SUV after receiving numerous tips around 12:25 p.m.

“They was [sic] hollering halt. He went down through the ditch,” Lamar County Resident Danny Smith described. “[They went down through my yard through the ditch and that's when they took off after him.”

Sheriff White said Pitts took off through a front yard when deputies arrived and began to head towards Barnesville. The sheriff expressed concern during a news conference on Thursday evening that Pitts may have been headed towards where his estranged wife works. White said his office alerted Barnesville police, who quickly set up roadblocks.

One deputy was able to deploy stop sticks as the SUV sped along Highway 38, but Sheriff White said it took a while for the tires to deflate. At this point, Pitts changed direction, heading towards the Lamar County High School. The school district’s resource officer acted to place the nearby schools under a lockdown.

Pitts ended up turning down the road next to the high school and eventually stopped behind the school. Sheriff White said that is when Pitts opened fire at deputies from inside the SUV. White said his deputies returned fire, but it is unclear if Pitts was actually struck or how many times. Pitts was taken by air to Macon Medical Center. No other injuries were reported.

“We had five deputies involved in the shooting,” said the sheriff. “All five of those fired.”

“She told me she heard bang, bang, bang,” Kim Willis described what her friend had told her about the encounter. “That's where she saw the ambulance and fire truck coming around that way, which is when they shut down the schools.”

APP USERS: Click here to watch in Facebook

White said he was not sure why Pitts was sitting behind a home on Freeman Road. Deputies said the house empty and believe he was searching for his estranged wife. The sheriff said they had received several calls from concerned citizens prompted a lookout to be issued for him. The sheriff also said there was talk that his insurance was running out and he may try to do something to harm himself before that happened.

“One of the calls that we got said that if a law enforcement officer tried to stop him that he would take as many officers with him, he could get out shooting and would take as many officers with him as he could,” said Sheriff White.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling investigation. Pitts faces aggravated assault charges in addition to his previous warrants.

“It's unfortunate that it ended that way. We don't think any less of Mr. Pitts, we hope he gets the treatment that he needs,” Sheriff White said during a news conference Thursday evening.

White said all five of the deputies are on paid administrative leave, a standard practice he said his office follows in cases of deputy-involved shootings. The sheriff said he expects to have more information to release on the incident by Friday afternoon.