Houston & Peach

He’d gotten slaps on the wrist for hitting women until he pulled a gun on a deputy

"I just wanted him to get my husband to leave — not shoot my husband," woman says

Tyia Clay went live on Facebook after her neighbor beat on her door pleading for help. This video shows reaction of the wife whose husband, Chris Cashell, was shot and killed by a Houston County sheriff's deputy July 3, 2017.
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Tyia Clay went live on Facebook after her neighbor beat on her door pleading for help. This video shows reaction of the wife whose husband, Chris Cashell, was shot and killed by a Houston County sheriff's deputy July 3, 2017.

Chris Cashell had a history of domestic violence, including against his wife and a former girlfriend, records show.

Cashell, 45, was shot dead on his wife’s 41st birthday Monday by a Houston County sheriff’s deputy responding to a domestic call at their Bonaire home on Green Island Road.

“I just wanted him to get my husband to leave — not to shoot my husband,” a distraught Nicole Cashell is heard on a live Facebook video posted by neighbor Tyia Clay.

Last July, Nicole Cashell had called 911 from their former Jana Court home after “out of nowhere” Chris Cashell, who had been drinking, had become irate and started “wailing on her,” according to a Warner Robins police report.

She’d managed to break free from the hold her husband had around her neck and run to a neighbor’s for help, the report said.

A sheriff’s deputy who lived next door was able to talk Chris Cashell out of the home over the telephone. Cashell was taken to Houston Medical Center for an evaluation, according to the report.

In March of 2015, police were dispatched to the Jana Court residence after Nicole Cashell told a 911 dispatcher that her husband was beating her and had pulled a gun on her.

“I could just kill you,” Chris Cashell had told his wife as he held a handgun at his side, according to a Warner Robins police report.

He’d struck his wife several times with his fists and pushed her, causing her to fall and break a coffee table in the living room, the report said.

Nichole Cashell ran to a neighbor’s home for refuge.

Chris Cashell pleaded guilty in May 2015 to misdemeanor battery and simple assault in Houston County Superior Court in connection with the incident. He was given two years on probation, but the sentence was allowed to terminate early in April 2016.

In 2007, Chris Cashell was charged with aggravated battery after Warner Robins police found a former girlfriend “bleeding from the mouth and nose” at a Southland Station Drive apartment.

“I snapped,” Cashell told a Warner Robins police officer, according to the report.

His former girlfriend was getting in the way of his cleaning the apartment, so he gave her a “one-two punch” in the face, according to the report.

Her nose was broken and several teeth knocked out, the report said.

The felony charge was dismissed against him in May 2011 by the district attorney’s office after he successfully completed a pretrial diversion program, court records show.

Monday, Cashell had allegedly slashed three of his wife’s tires to prevent her from leaving their home. He initially cooperated with Deputy Jonathan Lewis to come outside and remain there while his wife gathered some of her things.

But the second time he went into the home against the deputy’s wishes, Cashell turned and pointed a handgun, held in his right hand, in Lewis’ direction, said GBI special agent J.T. Ricketson.

“After a number of his (the deputy) basically yelling, ‘Drop the weapon, Drop the weapon,’ Chris then pointed the weapon towards the deputy and the deputy fired four rounds,” Ricketson said.

Wednesday’s autopsy found that Cashell was struck three times in the upper torso. He was pronounced dead on scene, Ricketson said.

Lewis, 31, had been assigned to patrol for about five months before the fatal shooting, said Capt. Ronnie Harlowe, head of the patrol division. Lewis is on paid leave, per departmental policy, as the GBI investigates his use of force.

Lewis had joined the sheriff’s office as a detention officer in February 2014 after previously working for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. He had no prior use of force incidents, or any known prior disciplinary actions, Harlowe said.

“It’s an unfortunate situation that happened,” said Sheriff Cullen Talton, who requested the third-party investigation into the shooting by the GBI.

“The deputies are trained to defend themselves ... Personally, I think the officer reacted in the proper way based on what I know about it,” Talton said.

Cashell had worked in aircraft maintenance at Robins Air Force Base, according to police reports. His wife is a nurse, neighbors said.

Her family declined comment on her behalf at the couple’s home Wednesday.

Some men in the driveway were replacing the tires on her car.

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser

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