A sheriff’s deputy in a south Georgia county was shot Saturday during a pursuit of suspects and passed away from his injury on Monday, Breitbart reported.
Lt. Justin Bedwell, a 19-year veteran of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office was fired upon as he approached the suspects after joining a chase that had started in a neighboring county.
Deputy “paid the ultimate sacrifice”
Bedwell had sought to assist in the pursuit of two suspects, Brad and Troy Phillips, who had already fired upon deputies in neighboring Seminole County before crossing into Decatur County, local outlet WXIA reported.
Bedwell’s death Monday was confirmed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which said in a statement that Bedwell “paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we thank him for his service.”
In a post to Facebook, Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin said his deputy “succumbed to injuries that were sustained in the line of duty” and heralded Bedwell’s work as a “Patrol Commander, Training Officer and a highly valued member of the Command Staff.”
“Captain Bedwell will be truly missed and we are devastated by his passing. Please continue to pray for Captain Bedwell’s family, the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office and our community,” the sheriff added.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) weighed in as well. “On behalf of all Georgians, the Kemp Family sends our heartfelt prayers to Lt. Bedwell’s family, loved ones, and fellow officers in light of this heartbreaking news. His heroic sacrifice and dedicated service will not be forgotten,” he tweeted Monday.
Suspects charged with murder
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the incident began Saturday when a Seminole County deputy attempted to pull over a white truck for driving recklessly. A chase ensued and shots were fired by the two suspects at the pursuing deputies.
After the pursuit crossed over into Decatur County, the two suspects attempted to seek refuge in a house only to be driven off by gunshots from the homeowner.
Bedwell then arrived on the scene and was shot while still in his vehicle by the suspects as they reentered the truck and fled.
That second pursuit was short-lived, as the truck crashed in a wooded area and the chase turned into a search. Brad Phillips was immediately found and taken into custody while Troy remained on the loose until he was captured Sunday afternoon.
Both suspects face charges that include felony murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer, being a party to murder, attempted home invasion, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm during a crime and aggravated assault.