One Peach deputy killed, 2nd in critical condition after shootout

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese explains the shootings Sunday of two of his deputies.

A Peach County deputy died Sunday night, and a second one was wounded after a shootout in a Byron neighborhood.

The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Sunday on Hardison Road, near Highway 42.

GBI special agent in charge J.T. Ricketson said Peach County deputies responded to a report of a dispute among neighbors. Two people riding on ATVs reported that they were confronted by an armed man.

The two Peach deputies arrived at the home of the person who phoned in the complaint, then went to the home of the alleged armed man, Ricketson said.


A man opened fire on the officers as soon as they arrived on the scene. 

Byron officers also responded and returned fire on the shooter. The man was struck at least once, in the abdomen, according to Ricketson.

The two Peach deputies were taken to separate hospitals.

Peach Coroner Kerry Rooks say 41-year-old Patrick Sondron, a Peach deputy, was pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m. at the Peach County Medical Center.

The second officer who was wounded was taken to Medical Center Navicent Health in Macon. Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said around 9:45 p.m. that Deputy Daryl Smallwood was in critical condition.

The suspect has been identified as Ralph Stanley Elrod. He was also wounded with a gunshot to the abdomen. He was being treated at Medical Center, Navicent Health.

The GBI and agencies from multiple counties were called out to the neighborhood in Byron, including the Houston, Jones and Bibb county sheriff's offices and Perry police.


Ricketson said officers are now collecting evidence from what he called a large outdoor crime scene, where the shooter walked around with his firearm.

He said it was disturbing to see officers shot while responding to a call.
 
"These officers came out here to help people," he said.


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