Hall County

Ga. sheriff issues raw, heartfelt statement on deadly officer-involved shootings

The GBI is on the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Hall County.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — For the second time in the last few months, deputies in Hall County were involved in a deadly shooting over the weekend.

The shooting happened after a several-hour standoff during which the suspect shot at officers.

On Tuesday, Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch issued a lengthy statement about deadly shootings, his deputies and their involvement in the community.

Read the entire statement below:

On Saturday afternoon, our Deputies were involved in a protracted situation that carried over into the overnight hours of Sunday morning, culminating in such a way that they were forced to take a man’s life in defense of their own.

Just as I stated a few short months ago when our Deputies were involved in another instance where they were forced to take a life, these situations are arguably the most stressful task a law enforcement officer will ever face.

While we hope that we can serve throughout our careers without ever having to take such action, this is what we train for and must be prepared to do. And although we take no pleasure in the loss of life -- even that of an armed assailant who is actively trying to kill us -- I’m once again relieved and proud to say that our Deputies displayed enormous fortitude in the face of danger. They stood their ground while under direct assault and performed their sworn duty with honor and courage, ensuring that no harm came to innocent parties or themselves.

I am proud to have served Hall County for more than 30 years in the Sheriff’s Office and now as your elected Sheriff. During that time, similar scenarios have played out more times than one might expect. Sometimes we go years without a Deputy becoming involved in a fatal shooting. Last weekend’s incident marks the second one in just a few months.

My prayer is that this frequency of violence toward law enforcement officers does not become a trend and that our Deputies do not have to face such situations with any regularity. They all have families and a department that cares for them and wants to see them go home safe at the end of every watch.

Among my greatest responsibilities is to ensure that these men and women have the knowledge, tools, and training to make sure that happens. Additionally, it is my job to make sure that the men and women involved in these instances have the continuing support they need afterward. Taking a human life is not normal. All of the Deputies involved will have a few paid administrative days off while the investigation is underway, as is customary. They will use this time to be close to their families and process what they’ve been involved in.

I ask that our community keep them in their thoughts and prayers; they are all strong, resilient officers who performed admirably under dire circumstances, and they are worthy of our support.

In closing, I simply ask this of our community: every time you see a patrol car driving down the road, remember that the man or woman behind the wheel is not just a faceless being in a uniform. They are members of our community, too. Their kids go to our schools, they shop in the same stores as us, eat at the same restaurants and share the pews at our churches.

And on that day, they just might be minutes away from a life-changing violent encounter, because they’ve raised their right hand and taken a sworn oath to protect and serve all of us.

Thank you for your continued support of these men and women.