National Guardsman Kills Deputy, Then Self, Cops Say

A National Guardsman who had been firing at passing cars on an Augusta, Ga., road early this morning, killed a sheriff’s deputy before taking his own life, police said.

Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, appeared to be drunk and had been fighting with his girlfriend when he fired 35 rounds from an M4 semiautomatic rifle around 1 a.m. today, killing Deputy James D. Paugh, 47, who was off duty but had stopped to investigate a suspicious car parked in a grassy area off Bobby Jones Expressway, Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said in a statement.

“He pulled over his motorcycle and didn’t even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him,” Strength said.

Paugh’s gun was fired twice, but police said Hodges killed himself with his own gun.

An official at Fort Gordon National Guard base said very little was known about Hodges.

“He’s been here several months,”  Fort Gordon public relations officer James Hudgins told ABC News. “[He was] a member of the Tennessee National Guard. He was assigned here as a trainee. He had only been here a few months so that’s all we really know at this time.”

Buzz Yarnell, a spokesman for Fort Gordon, told The Assoicated Press that he was unaware of any behavioral issues with Hodges and declined to say whether he had previously been deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Hodges’ girlfriend was being held by police for questioning.

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