More details have emerged in the "ambush" shooting of a Centerville police officer, from the weapons wielded to the wounding of the accused shooter.
Perry Jason Baggett, 45, is accused of firing on Cpl. Jeremy Mashuga and fellow Centerville police officer Tyler Wilcox shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday as they responded to a 911 call of a couple yelling and screaming in the front yard of 103 Jeanette Place.
As the officers were walking up to the home, Baggett came out the front door and opened fire on the officers "without any kind of warning whatsoever," said J.T. Ricketeson, the special agent in charge of the GBI office in Perry.
“It was an ambush,” Ricketson said Wednesday. “They’re walking up to try to find out what’s going on, and Baggett just comes out firing. So, there was no verbal exchange.”
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Mashuga was wounded in the abdomen.
Wilcox pulled a bleeding Mashuga behind his police vehicle, a black Chevrolet Tahoe, and began to apply pressure to the wound. A Warner Robins police officer, medically trained, arrived on the scene, and as the officers were helping Mashuga, Baggett opened fire again — this time from a second-floor window, Ricketson said.
Mashuga was struck in the right foot.
The Warner Robins officer returned fire, the first of multiple gunfire exchanges between Baggett and law enforcement officers during the hours-long standoff.
Baggett had access to two handguns and a rifle in the house, Ricketson said. An arrest warrant says Baggett wielded a semiautomatic handgun when wounding Mashuga.
Wilcox and the Warner Robins officer managed to get Mashuga up into the police vehicle, and Wilcox headed for Houston Medical Center, where he was met along the way by an ambulance. Mashuga was later taken to the Medical Center, Navicient Health.
Mashuga underwent surgery that night and was moved to a regular room Saturday. He continues to recover.
The arrest warrant for Baggett described the injuries as “extensive” and “life-threatening.”
Back at the scene, tactical officers under the direction of Houston County sheriff’s Capt. M.J. Stokes rescued the woman from the home in what Ricketson described as a risky maneuver.
Shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday, they found a wounded Baggett hiding in the attic.
Baggett had a serious wound to one hand, which may have come from an exchange of gunfire, Ricketson said. Baggett also had an injury to his other hand that could have come from his picking up a canister thrown in the home in an attempt to gas him out.
Baggett was taken to a hospital before he was booked into the Houston County Detention Center at 4:50 p.m. Saturday.
He was charged with one count of aggravated assault on a police officers, with additional charges expected. Those charges are expected to reflect each officer that Baggett fired on during the overnight standoff, Ricketson said.
"Every time he indiscriminately fired from inside that house to the outside world, every officer that was out there on perimeter in his line of fire is a victim," Ricketson said.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies converged on the scene when the "officer down" call went out.
Baggett, who remains jailed without bond, asked that a Houston County public defender be appointed to represent him at his first-appearance hearing Tuesday, said Chief Magistrate Judge Robert E. Turner.
The standoff was not Baggett’s first run-in with law enforcement, nor his first arrest in Centerville.
Baggett received 12 months of probation and was fined $800 in December 2011 after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery against another “by spitting in his face, grabbing his shirt and hair and scratching him in the throat,” according to court records, which included the arrest warrant. The incident happened in October 2011 at a Centerville apartment.
Tom Kelly said the victim was his son, who was a teenager at the time. The teen had made a remark about Baggett's wife to another person, who repeated it to Baggett, Kelly said.
"A 35-year-old man going ballistic on a 15-year-old kid, that was just wrong," Kelly said.
Baggett also served one year and seven months of a two-year sentence for a conviction on two counts of robbery in Clayton County in the 1990s, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website. He was released from prison in February 1996.