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Badge and Bar: Year after threat, off-duty cop spots suspect at Gwinnett gas station

Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time, like an off-duty Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy who called 911 when he spotted a terroristic threats suspect at a Gwinnett County gas station.

The deputy saw the 66-year-old Baton Rouge man Sept. 15 and was familiar with the case.

The Sheriff’s Office had been looking for the man since July 1, 2018, because of an incident at a gas station at the intersection of Atlanta Highway and Friendship Road.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said the man walked out of the store toward a vehicle “threatening to kill its occupants and rape one of them.” The people inside — a man, woman and teenaged girl — did not know who he was.

The Baton Rouge man’s face had been posted on social media, and law enforcement were able to identify him Sept. 24, 2018.

After the deputy called 911 this weekend, Gwinnett County Police pulled over the Baton Rouge man’s car on Interstate 85 at mile marker 119.

The man was charged with three felony counts of terroristic threats and one count of disorderly conduct.

He has since been booked in to the Hall County Jail, where he remains without bond.

“Investigative work, citizen tips, an observant off-duty deputy and the quick response of a neighboring agency were the perfect combination to lead to an arrest in this case,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “This is a great example of how public safety is a team effort. It takes each one of us to make our communities safer.” 

The case is still under investigation.

Three local agencies take home awards

Gainesville Police, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Hall County Fire Services fire marshal all took home some hardware in the past week.

Gainesville Police and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office placed second in their respective categories regarding departments with 101-250 officers and 251-500 officers.

The police department also was honored with the “Underage Alcohol Prevention” special category award at the Governor’s Challenge Awards Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Macon sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

"The Governor's Challenge Awards are our way to let our law enforcement officers know they are making a difference every day when it comes to saving lives on our roads," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said in a statement. "We were also honored to have Governor (Brian) Kemp with this us to celebrate 20 years of honoring state and local law enforcement officers for their service and dedication to their communities."

Fire Marshal Bryan Cash was named Investigator of the Year on Saturday, Sept.14 at the Georgia Fire Service Awards ceremony in Albany.

According to the fire department, Cash has made 42 arrests leading to multiple convictions over the last four years.

“In addition to his pursuit of justice for victims of incendiary fires, Chief Cash has implemented an on shift investigator/inspector for each 24 hours shift which enables an immediate investigation into all fires and collection of important evidence,” the fire department said in a statement.

More than 2,000 smoke alarms were installed by the department in the past four years.

“Chief Cash has shown his commitment to the citizens of Hall County with his efforts in aggressively pursuing those who intentionally set fires and are a risk to our community. We are proud of his accomplishment for his unwavering and intentional focus on prevention, inspection, and enforcement,” Hall County Fire Chief Chris Armstrong said in a statement.

Man accused of attacking three people who were helping woman move

A Clermont man allegedly attacked, strangled and bit people that were trying to help a woman move out from a Shoal Creek Road residence, according to authorities.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said a woman living with the 34-year-old suspect was gathering her belongings Friday, Sept. 13, and had brought three people with her.

The man came out of the residence and hit a 20-year-old woman in the head and arm with a “board similar to a two-by-four,” Booth said.

The suspect also allegedly hit a 22-year-old man in the head with the two-by-four and strangled him.

“He bit the third victim, a 21-year-old man, in his stomach,” Booth wrote in an email.

All of the victims were treated at the scene, and the woman moving out was uninjured.

The suspect was charged with four counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated battery. He was booked in to the Hall County Jail on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

He is being held on a $28,500 bond.

The case is still under investigation.

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