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GBI: 2nd Georgia deputy dies after shootout with man

Police shoot, injure man after he shoots 2 deputies

Orange Park native Sgt. Patrick Sondron of the Peach County Sheriff's Office was killed in the line of duty Sunday.
Orange Park native Sgt. Patrick Sondron of the Peach County Sheriff's Office was killed in the line of duty Sunday.

BYRON, Ga. – Authorities say a second sheriff's deputy has died after a shooting in central Georgia.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles says Peach County Sheriff's Deputy Daryl Smallwood died Tuesday after he was injured in the Nov. 6 shooting near Byron, about 16 miles southwest of Macon. Authorities said Sgt. Patrick Sondron, a native of Orange Park and an Orange Park High School graduate, also died in the shooting.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson said Monday that Ralph Stanley Elrod, 57, faces a murder charge and four counts of aggravated assault on a police officer following the Sunday afternoon attack on Sondron, 41, and Smallwood.

Elrod started shooting at the deputies Sunday when they responded to a call that he was using a rifle to threaten two young men visiting his neighbors, Ricketson said.

The men, visiting their aunt and uncle's house for a cookout, were riding a motorcycle and a four-wheeler on their relatives' property, which backs up to Elrod's property. Elrod threatened them with a rifle as they rode down a nearby road, prompting the men to return to the house and call 911, authorities said.

Sondron, a native of Orange Park and an Orange Park High graduate, and Smallwood came to the home and took statements from the family and then drove over to the neighbor's house about 5:30 p.m., Ricketson said. The deputies drove up the long driveway and got out of their vehicle. They'd taken only a couple of steps when Elrod came out of his house and began shooting at them with a handgun, killing Sondron and critically injuring Smallwood, Ricketson said. As far as investigators can tell, neither of the two deputies had withdrawn his gun.

The owners of the home where the young men were attending the cookout had walked to where their property abuts Elrod's after the deputies left their house. They heard the gunshots, saw the deputies fall, and rushed back to their house to call 911 again, Ricketson said.

One of the three police officers who responded used a ballistic shield to protect himself as he approached the house, while at least one of the others positioned himself behind his patrol car.  Elrod walked out of his garage with a rifle and began shooting at the police officers, Ricketson said. One of the officers returned fire, hitting Elrod in the abdomen, after which the officers were able to subdue him and take him into custody, he said.\

Investigators say Elrod is the father of a deputy in Jones County, northeast of Macon. It's unclear whether Elrod has an attorney.