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GBI: Hall sheriff's deputies returned Lula man's fire, killing him with shot to the head

POSTED: August 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

This is just one of the many bullet holes in the window of the camper where Hubert Stanley Tate was shot Monday in Lula.

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A Lula man involved in a Monday standoff was shot dead by deputies, according to a Georgia Bureau Investigation probe of the incident.

Hubert Stanley Tate repeatedly fired and reloaded his .44 Magnum revolver from inside his camper van, according to Mike Ayers, the special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Region 8 office in Cleveland. Tate, 65, then was killed by a gunshot to the head fired by a Hall sheriff’s SWAT Team member from outside the camper, Ayers said.

Ayers said Tuesday that he hoped to present a report on the shooting to Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh "very soon." The GBI was asked to look into the incident, a routine procedure in officer-involved shootings in Georgia.

Groover, 35, sustained injuries that were not life-threatening and is recovering from surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital.

The round that hit Groover passed through his right arm. Authorities couldn’t find the bullet, but are fairly certain it was fired from Tate’s gun, Ayers said.

Deputies returned fire into Tate’s camper, with one bullet striking him in the head, another in the shoulder, Ayers said. The GBI has been unable so far to determine which SWAT member fired the fatal shot. He would not say what types of guns were used by the SWAT Team.

Ayers did not rule out firearm or ballistics tests to determine which deputy shot Tate.

"We’ll investigate the case as completely as we possibly can," Ayers said.

Ayers said Tate and SWAT members exchanged gunfire sporadically throughout the standoff, which started in downtown Lula after Tate allegedly pointed his gun at an off-duty Gainesville police officer identified in court documents as Nathan Reed.

According to sheriff’s officials, Tate fled through woods after pointing the gun and went inside his camper on Banks Street, where the standoff ensued.

Ayers said Tate fired shots from inside his camper through a closed door and a window "at multiple angles" and reloaded numerous times.

Authorities found "multiple rounds" of live ammunition inside the camper after Tate was killed, Ayers said.

Tate was armed only with the revolver, he said.

While SWAT members tried to negotiate with Tate, they were unable to get a "throw-phone" or other communication device inside the camper to facilitate a conversation, Ayers said.

Tate said nothing before opening fire on deputies, Ayers said.

The GBI has been in contact with an adult son of Tate’s since his death, Ayers said.



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