GBI special agent describes long night after Centerville officer shot
After an overnight standoff with police, the man accused of shooting a Centerville officer was captured.
The suspect, Perry Baggett, was taken into custody before 7 a.m. Saturday, said Houston County sheriff's Capt. M. J. Stokes. Baggett, 45, is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, said J.T. Ricketson, the GBI special agent in charge of the Perry investigative office.
The incident began to unfold about 10 p.m. Friday when, authorities say, Baggett shot Cpl. Jeremy Mashuga in the abdomen. He then barricaded himself in a home on Jeanette Place.
Officers had responded to the home after a neighbor called 911 to report a couple yelling and arguing. When the responding officers arrived, the suspect came out of the house and fired, Ricketson said.
The officers "did not see him before he started firing on them," Ricketson said.
Mashuga is recovering, having been moved to a regular room Saturday, said Councilman Cameron Andrews.
"He's going to be OK," said Andrews, who was at the hospital where Mashuga underwent surgery. "God is good."
Andrews was joined at the hospital by Centerville Police Chief Chuck Hadden, Mayor John Harley and Councilman Justin Wright to offer comfort and support to the officer's wife.
Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies converged after the officer-down call went out over the police radio. Police blocked part of Church Street, which is T-boned by Vanessa Drive. Jeanette Place is located off Vanessa Drive. Meanwhile, Mashuga's partner drove the wounded officer to meet an ambulance.
Tactical teams from both the Houston County Sheriff's Office and the Warner Robins Police Department were on scene. A hostage negotiator made repeated attempts to talk to Baggett throughout the long standoff.
A woman who was trapped inside the home was rescued by authorities.
"It was a very risky move, but again they were able to get her out safely," Ricketson said.
Residents in nearby homes were also evacuated.
Shots could be heard being fired shortly before midnight. Gunfire was exchanged multiple times throughout the night and early morning, Sheriff Cullen Talton said.
A Georgia State Patrol helicopter flew overhead, and a GBI bomb robot was brought in an attempt to get "eyes" on Baggett inside the home.
Gas was also used to try to force him out. For a couple of hours early Saturday, Baggett had not been heard from, prompting concern that he might be dead, Talton said.
But then lights came on and off, and there was movement in the two-story home, added Houston County sheriff's Capt. Jon Holland.
"We'll take as much time as we can to resolve it peacefully, if we can," Holland said.
Law enforcement officers eventually were able to enter the home and found Baggett hiding in the attic, Ricketson said.
Baggett was found with wounds on his hands and taken to the hospital, Ricketson said. He said he could not describe the nature of the wounds.
The GBI is handling the investigation. A mugshot was not immediately available.
"There is still a lot for us to do," Ricketson said. "We interviewed all the officers on the scene, and we'll do a neighborhood canvas. ...
"There were a lot of shots, and that's what's going to take us so long."
Telegraph staff Beau Cabell and Jennifer Burk contributed to this report.