Putnam deputy shot in the eye

A Putnam County sheriff’s deputy is recovering from a shotgun blast he received Wednesday night while responding to a domestic dispute.

Deputy Barak Wood was hit with birdshot in the right shoulder, left eye and one hand, said Putnam Sheriff Howard Sills.

“He was released from the hospital in Athens,” Sills said Thursday. “He’s got to see an ophthalmologist tomorrow. He’s got one pellet inside of his left eye socket.”

The man accused in the shooting, Donovan Ray Dann, 23, is in the Baldwin County Jail, the sheriff said.

At 7:48 p.m. Wednesday, deputies got a call from a woman who said her daughter was being held against her will by the man she was babysitting for, Sills said in a news release.

The sheriff said before the line went dead on the daughter’s call, the mother heard her daughter say, “Don’t do that.”

Wood, a former Marine who has been on the force about a year, and Deputy Thaddeus Dennis went to the residence at 943 Crooked Creek Road, just north of Lake Sinclair. Wood was familiar with the location and Dann, its occupant, from a previous call, Sills said.

As Wood got out of his patrol car, he saw a man run from the residence, and gave chase on foot. That’s when he was shot, the news release said. Two shotgun blasts were fired; Wood returned fire and called for backup, but didn’t hit Dann.

Dann ran into nearby woods, and more officers arrived to comb the area. Some were from neighboring Baldwin County.

Upon hearing about the shooting, Sills, who was in North Carolina, sent a text message to the alleged gunman. The sheriff also left him a voicemail message.

“Just telling him to give himself up,” Sills said. “He’s got a history with us going back a number of years.”

Dann emerged from the woods unarmed about 9:35 p.m. and surrendered to Putnam Capt. Tony Frazier and Baldwin Sheriff Bill Massee.“We don’t know where the shotgun is at the moment,” Sills said.

Dennis was not shot, but was treated and released from Putnam General for complications of hypertension.

This was Dann’s visitation time with his 2-year-old, and a Morgan County resident came to babysit the child for him, Sills said. Via email, he said the 24-year-old woman was Dann’s current or former girlfriend, but not the child’s mother.

Sills said an altercation started well before the disturbance call. Dann fired the shotgun once or twice inside the house before deputies arrived, Sills said.

The 24-year-old babysitter fled to a nearby house. She was treated and released from Putnam General Hospital for injuries from Dann’s fists and shotgun butt, Sills said.

“She was beaten up pretty good, and hit in the head with the same shotgun that was used to shoot the deputy,” Sills said.

The motive for Dann’s outburst remains unclear.

“Just another God-damn hoodlum, is all I can tell you,” Sills said.

Deputies found the 2-year-old child alone but unharmed inside the house. The child was later released to its mother, who wasn’t involved or at the scene, Sills said.

Dann is charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, and Sills said he also intends to charge Dann with aggravated assault on the woman, and cruelty to a child.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397. To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.