Sheriff: Georgia deputy told girl to point loaded rifle at mother

A Spalding County deputy has been arrested and fired after officials say he instructed an 11-year-old girl to point a loaded rifle at her mother.

According to an investigation by the Spalding County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened during a domestic dispute on Feb. 22 between former Deputy Charles Bentley and his girlfriend.

Officials say, Bentley allowed his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter to access his issued patrol locker, which was kept secured in a locking rack in his patrol unit. He then allegedly showed her how to unlock the rifle, showed her how to activate its optical sight, and "told her to point the weapon toward her mother."

No shots were fired in the incident, and nobody was harmed.

The mother reported the encounter to Spalding County deputies, who began an investigation, after which Bentley was fired and arrested on Feb. 27.

"Mr. Bentley’s arrest was the result of bad choices that were of his own doing, and he, like others, are personally responsible for their own actions and choices with no excuses made or accepted for violating the law," Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said in a statement. "At the time the rifle was pointed at her, the child’s mother had no idea if the weapon was loaded or not, all she knew is that the rifle was pointed at her."

Bentley had been with the department for over 20 years. He has now been charged with one count of reckless conduct.