LAGRANGE, GA: Deputy ambushed during welfare check, suspect arrested after 6-hour stand-off

Matthew Edmondson takes aim and fires at the deputy’s patrol vehicle. Troup County Sheriff Department video screenshot

LAGRANGE, GA – Officials from the Troup County Sheriff’s Department have released dash-cam video footage from a sheriff’s patrol vehicle showing a gun battle between a 28-year-old Lagrange man and a Troup County sheriff’s deputy.

Deputy Michael Hocket pictured in an undated Troup County Sheriff Department photo

The shootout happened at a rural county residence Monday, Jan. 9. Officials released the heart-wrenching video footage was released on Thursday, Jan. 12, three days after the violent incident happened.

After the harrowing gun battle Edmondson barricaded himself inside his residence and was reportedly armed with “several rifles, guns, and a long-rifle.”

During the six-hour long stand-off the department’s SWAT Team and a crisis hostage negotiator were summoned to the scene to assist bring the situation to a peaceful resolution.

Authorities eventually arrested Edmondson after he exited the home.

Both Edmondson and the sheriff official, who was identified by his department as 28-year-old Deputy Michael Hockett, were shot and injured during the exchange of gunfire.

Edmondson, who was shot in the right shoulder, was treated at a Columbus area hospital where he is still receiving treatment for his gunshot wound.

Sheriff’s officials later booked Edmondson into county jail on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and false imprisonment.

The Troup County Sheriff later told reporters Hocket was “injured in the elbow and waist area,” however officials have not released the full extent of the deputy’s injuries. He was transported to West Georgia Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released.

Deputy Hocket can be seen leaping over a locked gate with Edmondson pursuing from a short distance. Troup County Sheriff Department video screenshot

The incident began after Hockett was dispatched to Edmondson’s home after the suspect’s own father called 911 and requested officials to conduct a welfare check on his son.

According to officials, Edmondson’s father told Troup County emergency dispatchers that his son was suffering from a “psychotic episode.”

When Hockett arrived at the large, gated property, he scaled a low gate to enter the property. He can be seen on the dash-cam walking up a long driveway leading to a residential structure on the property. Hockett can then be seen going around to the rear of the property, out of view from the dash-cam.

About nine minutes after Hockett arrived at the residence – while the deputy was still searching for anyone on the property – Edmondson pulled up to the property in a pickup truck. Edmondson had a female passenger in the truck with him who was later identified as his mother, Liz Edmondson.

On the dash-cam footage, Edmondson can be seen first walking around Hockett’s patrol vehicle, before he is heard hitting or kicking the car numerous times.

Edmondson then opened the gate, drove quickly onto his property and then calmly walked back to Hockett’s vehicle, where he fired two rounds at the patrol car from what officials described as a “large caliber handgun.”

Hockett, who clearly heard the shots being fired from some distance beyond and behind the front structure on the property, can be heard clearly over his activated and recording lapel microphone repeatedly yelling, “Woah! Sheriff’s Office! Sheriff’s Office!” in an attempt to gain Edmondson’s attention and identify himself to the armed man.

At that point, Hockett could not see where the shots were being fired from or who was firing the rounds. He also had no idea if the shots were random or were being directed at him.

Hockett then put out an emergency call for assistance, reporting to dispatchers and other law enforcement officials that shots had been fired at the location.

After firing the rounds at Hockett’s patrol car, Edmondson calmly walked back to his truck and pulled onto his property. He then exited his truck and walked slowly – but determinedly – back to the gate, where he shut and locked it; thereby trapping the deputy onto his property.

Edmondson opens fire on Deputy Hocket for the second time. Troup County Sheriff Department video screenshot

While Edmondson was out of his truck, his mother got out and appeared to be trying to reason with him. However, the video shows Edmondson forcefully pushing Liz back to the truck and shoving her back into the passenger seat.

Edmondson then pulled around the rear of the house, where he confronted Hockett out of camera range. As Edmondson approached Hockett in his truck, Hockett can be clearly heard again repeatedly identifying himself as a sheriff’s deputy.

As Edmondson suddenly parked his truck and exited his vehicle, Hockett is heard yelling, “No! Don’t Fire! No! Put it down! Put it down!” Edmondson never spoke before is heard begging Edmondson, “No! Please! Put it down! Put it down!”

The microphone then erupts with the sounds of gunfire, as Edmondson began shooting at Hockett from close range. Hockett can be heard yelling, “No! No!” as he is being shot at.

Hockett can then first be heard and then seen running from behind the front structure, back towards the relative safety of his patrol car

Moments later, the dash-cam video shows Edmondson running around the same corner of the residence, chasing from a short distance behind the fleeing deputy.

With Edmondson just a short distance behind him, Hockett barely had time to scramble over the gate and dive towards the rear of his patrol car before Edmondson made it to the gate. The armed gunman then reached over the gate with his handgun, took aim directly at the deputy, and open fire again

The exact moment Edmondson was struck by a round fired by Deputy Hocket. Troup County Sheriff Department video screenshot

Just before Edmondson began shooting, Hockett, who was just out of sight of his dash-cam, can be heard yelling, “Somebody! Help!” Then, just as Edmondson takes aim, Hocket can be heard pleading with the armed suspect, saying, “Please, don’t do that!”

Edmondson then began firing at Hockett again from mere feet away, as Hockett begins to return fire.

The two men exchanged nearly a half dozen rounds back and forth, during which both were reportedly struck by gunfire. Both are heard crying out in pain as they are hit by the rounds.

Edmondson then ran away from the gun battle, back towards his residence, out of sight of the deputy’s dash-cam.

“I’m hit, I’m hit!” Hockett is heard yelling into his radio. As he climbs back into his patrol car he exclaimed, “Shots are fired.”

Story continues below.

Video courtesy of Troup County Sheriff’s Department

Hockett then speeds away from Edmondson’s property, accelerating away from the area on West Point Road. In spite of being wounded in the gun battle, the deputy continued driving, to make sure he put a safe distance between himself and his attacker.

As he relayed information to his dispatcher and other responding deputies, his breathing is ragged and heavy, until he quickly begins to regain his composure.

“Nine-one, I’m hit. I’m back in my vehicle,” Hockett is heard updating his dispatcher. He then continues, “I’m on West Point Road, I’ve left the scene. He damaged my vehicle pretty bad. I took – I got shot at twice. I returned fire. He’s been hit at least once.”

Hockett kept driving, eventually pulling into a convenience store once he made sure Edmondson had not followed him. Other deputies and law enforcement officials quickly began arriving at Hockett’s side and ensured he was safely transported to West Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

While Hockett was still being treated, countless local and state law enforcement officials, including the FBI, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies converged into the area surrounding Edmondson’s home.

A sheriff’s armored tactical rescue vehicle moves into position during the six-hour long stand-off. Fox5 video screenshot

Neighbors and even the suspect’s mother said they had never seen anything like the overwhelming law enforcement response to the shooting.

Edmondson held the officers at bay for about six hours, until he eventually came out of his home and was taken into custody without further incident.

Edmondson’s mother later told officers and CBS46 reporters that like Edmondson’s father who originally called the sheriff’s department to conduct the well-fare check, she too had been worried about her son increasingly irrational and bizarre behavior.

Liz could not provide an explanation for her son’s increasingly erratic actions or why he had opened fire on Hockett.

“I think Matt just had some kind of nervous breakdown,” Liz later tried to explain. “Nobody believes it.”

Officials later confirmed Liz managed to make one 911 call before her son snatched her cell phone from her, leaving her with no way of calling for further help.

Liz told dispatchers she heard the gunfire and she only realized her son had been shot when he ran back to the house, but she said she had no idea what had happened to the deputy.

In her 911 call to the sheriff’s department, Liz told emergency dispatchers, “I need an ambulance, please hurry. My son has been shot.”

“There was a deputy here,” she said. “I don’t know if the deputy was shot or not. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m scared to death.”

“I don’t know what happened,” Liz later explained to officials and reporters. “Matt was not really acting like Matt. He had a perfect record, nothing until this. You wouldn’t find a nicer guy than Matt.”

“Just somehow, some way, there was a breakdown,” Liz concluded.

Hockett was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after all officer-involved shooting incidents.

In an interview with Channel 2 reporters after his terrifying ordeal, Hockett said he was thankful to be alive.

“I’m thankful that the Lord (saw) me through it,” he said. “I’ve replayed it in my head, and I know in my heart that I did everything I could to do the best I could with the situation I’d been placed in.”

Fox5 video/Youtube.com

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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Trevor Montgomery spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.

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