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Arrest near Murrayville school prompts lockdown

Deputies draw guns in traffic stop; suspect was unarmed

POSTED: April 24, 2009 11:04 p.m.

The arrest of a former Dawson County sheriff’s investigator near Lanier Elementary School on Friday prompted an evacuation of the playground and a lockdown of the school.

Kenneth Cannon, 40, was arrested by deputies outside the Murrayville public library on Ga. 60 during a traffic stop about 1:15 p.m., Hall County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kiley Sargent said.

Deputies drew their guns on Cannon out of concern that he might be armed, Sargent said. Cannon, who was wanted on outstanding arrest warrants out of Lumpkin County, was not armed.

The school is a few hundred feet from where Cannon was pulled over. Sargent said deputies asked school officials to bring the students in from the playground and lock down the school "as a precautionary measure."

Cannon surrendered without incident.

"There was no danger to anyone," Sargent said.

Cannon was wanted on charges of impersonating a police officer, computer invasion of privacy and aggravated stalking, Sargent said.

Dawson County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Wooten said Cannon left the sheriff’s office in February after working as a jailer, road deputy and investigator for a year and a half.

Cannon was forced to leave after allegedly harassing his wife, who also was a Dawson County sheriff’s employee, Wooten said. The couple since have divorced, Wooten said.

Cannon was the subject of media scrutiny in 2000 when he shot and killed a neighbor’s dog while employed as an officer with the Gainesville Police Department.

A jury acquitted Cannon on a charge of cruelty to animals.

Sargent said he was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the most recent charges, which were brought by Lumpkin County authorities. A spokesman for the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office was unavailable for comment late Friday afternoon.

The incident prompted a number of phone calls from concerned parents to The Times and other news media outlets. One parent said he was told by his son that the arrest involved a man with a gun near the school campus.


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