Crime

Accused deputy killer ‘too cowardly’ to kill himself, so he planned suicide by cop, prosecutor says

Surviving deputy narrates dash cam video of fatal deputy shooting

Editor's note: The following video contains graphic content. Monroe County deputy Jeff Wilson narrates a dash cam video of Wilson and fellow deputy MIchael Norris being shot after responding to a report of a suicidal person at Christopher Calmer's
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Editor's note: The following video contains graphic content. Monroe County deputy Jeff Wilson narrates a dash cam video of Wilson and fellow deputy MIchael Norris being shot after responding to a report of a suicidal person at Christopher Calmer's

In the day or so before he fatally shot a Monroe County deputy, Christopher Calmer told his family about his desperation, holding a pill bottle in one hand and a gun in the other.

“One of these two is going to give me relief. I can’t live like this,” Calmer’s uncle, Tommie McRae testified Monday on the opening day of Calmer’s murder trial.

Calmer, 49, could face the death penalty if he is convicted. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Calmer is charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of Monroe County deputy Michael Norris.

He allegedly opened fire on Norris and another deputy, Jeff Wilson, after the lawmen had arrived at Calmer’s parents’ home near Interstate 75 and Pate Road on Sept. 13, 2014.

That day, Calmer held a gun to his teMcmple and underneath his chin, mocking family members’ fear, McRae said.

McRae then called 911 on his cell phone, hoping someone would be able to get the gun away from his nephew, he testified.

In her opening statement to jurors, prosecutor Elizabeth Bobbitt said Calmer had plenty of opportunity to end his life if that’s what he wanted to do. He had his father’s .40-caliber Taurus handgun, a large knife beside his recliner in the living room and pills.

Monroe County deputy Jeff Wilson showed jurors where bullets passed through his uniform shirt, pants and bullet-proof vest during the trial for Christopher Calmer, the Monroe County man accused of wounding Wilson and fatally shooting deputy Michae

In the days before the shooting, he’d told his mother that he wanted to shoot some police officers so they’d kill him, Bobbitt said.

Knowing his mother wouldn’t involve the law, he schemed to scare McRae on his visit from Texas, making him afraid enough that he’d call 911, the prosecutor said.

“He was just too cowardly to” kill himself, Bobbitt told the group of 18 bused from Upson County to decide Calmer’s fate. “For his cowardice, Michael Norris lost his life.”

Bobbitt said Calmer fired 15 shots – loading a second ammunition magazine into the gun while standing over Norris’ as he lay mortally wounded — before surrendering to Wilson, who was bleeding “profusely” from a wound to his leg and buttocks. Another slug hit his bullet-proof vest and passed through the vest, burning Wilson’s stomach.

Monroe County deputy Jeff Wilson testified Monday, June 5, 2017, in the trial for Christopher Calmer, the Monroe County, Ga. man accused of wounding Wilson and fatally shooting deputy Michael Norris Sept. 13, 2014.

By the time Calmer surrendered, Wilson had made it back to a patrol car where he was hoping he wouldn’t pass out before handcuffing Calmer, to protect others who’d respond to the scene, Bobbitt said.

Gabrielle Pittman, one of Calmer’s lawyers, told jurors her client didn’t plan to shoot Norris and Wilson.

He was a man suffering from physical and mental illness who was in withdrawal from a pain drug. The withdrawal was causing him to suffer paranoia and anxiety, Pittman said.

“He was reacting like any crazy person would,” she said. “This wasn’t murder. This was untreated mental illness. This was pain. This was insanity.”

Testimony is set to continue Monday afternoon.

Check back at macon.com and read Tuesday’s Telegraph for more on this developing story.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

Amy Leigh Womack: 478-744-4398, @awomackmacon

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