Police charge 2 men with murder of South Georgia deputy

The GBI reports Decatur County deputy Lt. Justin Bedwell died Monday morning days after he was shot in the line of duty. (Photo: GBI)

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday morning a Decatur County Sheriff's Office deputy died days after he was struck by a bullet in a shootout. 

Authorities rushed Lt. Justin Bedwell to a hospital for treatment and surgery when he was shot on Saturday during the pursuit of Troy Arthur Phillips and Brad Phillips, who police said evaded a traffic stop and crossed state lines. The GBI announced Monday morning Bedwell died. 

The GBI reported Monday that both men are facing felony murder charges, in addition to aggravated assault of a peace officer, party to the crime of murder, attempted home invasion, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime. In Seminole County the two men were charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during crime, felony fleeing and attempting to elude and reckless driving. 

Police arrested Brad Phillips shortly after the incident on Saturday.  The GBI said Sunday police arrested Troy Arthur Phillips. Officials allege the men evaded Florida deputies at a traffic stop, leading to the interstate car chase and shootout with multiple law enforcement agencies.

The GBI investigation indicates a deputy in Seminole County attempted to conduct a traffic stop when the two suspects in a white 2500 Chevrolet pickup truck were allegedly driving recklessly. The truck refused to stop, investigators said, and a chase ensued.

Investigators said a second deputy joined the pursuit and the suspects began to fire a weapon from the truck in the direction of the Seminole County deputies. Seminole County deputies returned fire.

Police said the deputies continued the chase into Decatur County where local deputies joined the pursuit.  

The suspects drove into a driveway and attempted to break in by shooting through the door. That's when the homeowner began to shoot at the suspects, who left the home. As a Decatur County deputy was arriving in the area, one of the suspects shot at the deputy’s vehicle, striking the deputy.

Investigators said the suspects fled in their truck and wrecked a short time later in a wooded area. A Georgia State Patrol helicopter and crew responded to the area of the wrecked truck, officials said.  

Police arrested one suspect, 41-year-old Brad Phillips without further incident. Brad Phillips has been charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.

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