Man shoots wife then killed by sheriff's deputy

Man shoots wife then killed by sheriff's deputy

April 12th, 2011 by Joy Lukachick Smith in News

Bleach and broken glass remain outside of a Bahamas Drive home in Murray County, Ga., after two people were shot and killed Sunday evening. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Peggy Sue Green Hamby

Kenneth Green

CHATSWORTH, Ga. - Howard Pullen heard the gunshots. They were deafening.

"The bullet sounded like it came from my yard. It was so loud," said Pullen.

He ran down the hill to the home of his neighbors, Kenneth Green and his wife, Peggy Sue Green Hamby, only to find the couple dead and a Murray County Sheriff's Office deputy crying.

"That just tore the deputy up," he said.

Green was shot to death by the deputy after the 45-year-old turned a hunting rifle on the officer, authorities said. Moments before, Green had used the same rifle to kill 46-year-old Hamby, officials said.

The deputy was off Monday and today, but he will be allowed to come back to work Wednesday at his choice, Murray County Sheriff Howard Ensley said. The deputy's name is being withheld at the request of the family, Ensley said.

"He's distraught," the sheriff said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident to ensure that the correct policies were followed in the officer-involved shooting. But Ensley said it appears the deputy did everything right.

Green and Hamby apparently had a tumultuous relationship, according to authorities. After Green was arrested on aggravated assault charges for hitting Hamby in September, the court issued an order, telling him to stay away from her.

Yet they continued to live together.

Green also was a convicted felon on a 1998 charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, so he wasn't supposed to have a rifle.

"He wasn't supposed to be near her," said Ensley. "He wasn't supposed to have a gun."

On Sunday night, though, Green put a gun up to his wife's body when she called 911 for help, the sheriff said. Hamby told a sheriff's dispatcher that Green was threatening to kill her, himself and any law enforcement that showed up.

A deputy patrolling the area near the couple's home off Bahamas Drive sped to the house within four minutes of the call, parked his vehicle quietly and tried to sneak up to the house, the sheriff said. But as the deputy reached the driveway, he saw Green standing in between two vehicles, firing a hunting rifle into Hamby, who was lying on the ground.

The deputy leapt up, shouting at Green to drop his gun, but the man aimed the rifle at the deputy and fired, the sheriff said. The deputy returned several shots, killing Green, Ensley said

When the deputy reached Hamby, she was already dead, Ensley said.

"All this happened in a couple of seconds," he said. "It's a very troubling situation."

On Monday at the house, shattered glass lay spread on the ground near a broken window that was taped over with a garbage bag. A bottle of bleach sat on the brick step.

Friends drove by; a few neighbors stood near the house, shaking their heads.

"All I know is that they seemed to be good people," Pullen said.

Hamby would bring the mail to her neighbors if it was misplaced, he said, and she would babysit another neighbor's dogs.

She was remembered fondly at the local Chatsworth American Legion post, where she worked as a bartender.

"Everybody loved Peggy Sue to death," said Michael Ponders, a member of the legion and also a neighbor.

Both Hamby and Green had previous records.

Hamby was charged on a DUI almost 10 years ago, Ensley said, while Green had the meth conviction as well as several misdemeanors, including DUIs and disorderly conduct charges.

Green's latest arrest was in January after Dalton police charged him with harassing a former co-worker through a text message and phone calls, an incident report shows.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at 423-757-6659 or jlukachick@timesfreepress.com