A fatal shooting resulting from a road rage incident won't be prosecuted after a Catoosa County grand jury found the shooter's claim of self-defense valid.
"This appears to be a tragic event that is a result of a couple of strangers who lost control of their emotions in a war of words," Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said in a statement.
Jack Pedigo, 34, was shot and killed in September 2021 after he followed Daniel Vaughn and his wife to their home after an unspecified traffic incident on Battlefield Parkway. The grand jury made its decision not to charge Vaughn on Wednesday.
"While this is a terrible situation," District Attorney Chris Arnt said in a news release, "Georgia's self-defense laws are very clear."
He wrote that prosecutors took evidence to the grand jury to decide on two required legal elements for self-defense: whether Vaughn initiated the incident, and whether he believed his life was in imminent danger.
"My office presented the facts and evidence to the grand jury, and they made their decision," Arnt wrote. "Despite the limitations I have in providing more information to the public about this matter, it's important for the community to know that I take each of these situations seriously, and I address them without fear or favor."
Grand jury proceedings are confidential under Georgia law.
According to Catoosa County authorities, at around 8 p.m. on the night of the shooting, Pedigo and Vaughn exchanged "heated words" after an unspecified traffic incident on Battlefield Parkway, the Times Free Press previously reported. Afterwards, Pedigo followed Vaughn and his wife back to their home on Elm Avenue, where more heated words were said and threats were made.
Pedigo left and went to his home on Three Notch Road. Vaughn called 911 to report the incident, and the sheriff's office placed a lookout on Pedigo's vehicle. At 9:26 p.m., Pedigo returned to the Vaughn home, and more heated words were exchanged before Vaughn fired a weapon, killing Pedigo.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation doesn't keep records on justifiable homicides, a GBI official said in a phone call.