Shooting Injured Two Deputies, Killed Suspect

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Investigators continue their review of an officer-involved shooting that killed one man and injured two deputies Saturday.

Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig held a news conference Sunday to update the public on the investigation.  

"It's very unfortunate," said Sheriff Craig.  "Here in Pickens County we don't see this type of an incident and when it does happen, it's hard on everybody."

Deputies responded to Carver Mill Road in Talking Rock around 8:30 Saturday night after two hunters called 911 to report a man threatening them with a gun.  According to the GBI, John Harley Turner, 36, was involved in a dispute with the hunters because they were near his property.

Sheriff Craig said the hunters had permission from the property owner to hunt on the land and do so often. 

When sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene, Turner allegedly started to scream and point his gun at them.  The deputies called for backup from other Pickens County deputies and troopers from the Georgia State Patrol.  

"He was just threatening to kill the officers, to shoot them," explained Craig.  "He continuously refused to put down his weapon."

The officers, according to the GBI, used beanbag rounds to try to get Turner to drop his gun, but they were unsuccessful.  Turner fired at the law enforcement on scene striking two deputies.  Officers returned fire killing Turner. 

Both injured deputies were treated and released from the hospital.  One had been shot in the arm, while the other was shot in the back.  Sheriff Craig credited the deputy's bulletproof vest with saving his life. 

Craig said these types of incident are particularly difficult in a small community.  He has known Turner's mother and stepfather for several years.

"Obviously they're devastated.  You know, their son has been killed, but they're hanging in there and just trying to get through this at this time," he said.  "I ask for the prayers.  You know, not only for our office and our deputies, but also the family that lost their loved one."

The GBI's Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy on Turner at their headquarters in Decatur Monday morning.  

Once they complete their investigation, the GBI will turn over their findings  to the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, which will decide what, if any, charges will be filed in the case.

All the law enforcement officers involved in the shootout are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.