Cherokee County

Neighbor: Pastor protecting wife, 3 girls, shot suspect trying to get into home

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A family is safe and a home invasion suspect is in the hospital after a shooting.

Deputies said a homeowner fired shots at a man breaking into his house.

It happened Thursday morning on the 800 block of Santa Fe Trail in Cherokee County.


The family heard someone breaking the glass of their downstairs window.

The father, who Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach confirmed is the pastor of a Baptist church in Bartow County, then grabbed his gun.

Deputies said he shot Simmons in the head as he was coming in the house.

A neighbor, Bill Kennedy, told Gehlbach the Beck family heard the intruder breaking into their basement window.

"Come to the door and she was screaming, 'Invader in the house!' and her two kids were still in there asleep," Kennedy said.

The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Donavan Simmons. He was rushed to the hospital and now faces charges.

Beck does not face any charges.

"I think he did the right thing, protect his family," Kennedy said.