'It could have been tragic': Deputy, man wounded in exchange of gunfire in Rossville

'It could have been tragic': Deputy, man wounded in exchange of gunfire in Rossville

Suspect remains in critical condition

August 12th, 2019 by Patrick Filbin in Breaking News

The scene of a shootout that happened Sunday night between Walker County Sheriff's deputies and 47-year-old Sherman Travis Thomas that left both Thomas and Sgt. Thomas Agredano wounded. / Photo by Patrick Filbin

This story was updated Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, at 11:15 p.m. with more information.

Gallery: Rossville shooting

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Witnesses to Sunday night's shooting in Walker County, Georgia, that injured a Walker County deputy and a 47-year-old man said that anywhere from 30-40 shots were fired during the incident.

Robert Carter, the property owner and landlord of 12 apartments on Claire Street on the east side of Missionary Ridge in Rossville, said that at about 9:30 p.m. two Walker County sheriff's vehicles pulled up to one of the apartments for a house call.

Sheriff Steve Wilson in a statement said deputies were dispatched to a call about an unwanted person at the residence and found a man sitting on the porch when they got there.

The man was Sherman Travis Thomas, 47, who was staying with a woman who rents from Carter.

Thomas was not a resident of the apartments but, according to Carter, was asked to leave by the woman who was trying to help him out as he was going through a rough time.

Carter said Thomas had some car trouble and couldn't leave because of that. The woman, after asking Thomas to leave, called the sheriff's office to help her escort Thomas out of the apartment.

At about 9:40 p.m., Thomas told an officer, identified only as Sgt. Agredano, to get back in his car before firing at him, striking him in the leg.

"As the sergeant is retreating for cover, he and deputy Coppack return fire striking the suspect multiple times," the statement read.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also reported that Thomas fired first.

Carter saw the incident unfold and said he heard dozens of shots between deputies and Thomas, who stayed on the front porch of the apartment with a handgun.

"It was crazy," Carter said.

"It could have been tragic," he added.

Carter said that even after deputies restrained Thomas, he continued to put up a fight.

Carter said that by the way Thomas was waiting for deputies and continued to fight with them, "I think he wanted them to kill him."

Most of the tenants in the apartment complex are retirees, Carter said, so the gunfight Sunday night was completely out of the ordinary and shook some people up.

Agredano and Thomas were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Agredano was released early Monday morning and Thomas remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery, officials said.

Wilson said the sheriff's office believes Agredano was hit with a bullet that was deflected, because it didn't shatter the bone or cause any muscle damage.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is probing the incident, and once the investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the Walker County District Attorney's Office for review.

Wilson said Monday afternoon that Thomas had called an ambulance for himself Sunday morning before the incident and was evaluated for an apparent mental illness check at another local hospital.

Wilson said Thomas was either released or walked out on his own. Neither the sheriff's office nor GBI has been able to confirm how he left.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.


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