By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Gainesville man convicted in aggravated assault on officer case
William Lawrence Schmidt

A Gainesville man accused of pointing a gun at a deputy during a struggle was sentenced to eight years in prison, according to court documents.

William Lawrence Schmidt, 45, was convicted by a Hall County jury Wednesday, April 20, in the October 2020 aggravated assault case in eastern Hall County.

Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin sentenced Schmidt to 25 years with the first eight years in prison. He will receive credit for time served since October 2020, and the rest of the sentence after eight years may be served on probation.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office responded Oct. 20, 2020, to the 4000 block of Country Lane, where a woman said Schmidt was refusing to leave.

The Sheriff’s Office said Schmidt pushed his way inside the home, and the deputy saw Schmidt jump on a 16-year-old girl.

The deputy chased after Schmidt, who escaped into a neighbor’s yard, according to authorities.

After telling the man multiple times to stop running, the deputy took Schmidt to the ground, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“During the struggle, Schmidt continued to refuse the deputy's commands and pointed a handgun at him,” the Sheriff’s Office previously told The Times.

The deputy got control of the gun and tossed it out of reach, and more deputies came to help with the arrest, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Schmidt was indicted on charges of aggravated assault on a public safety officer, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, felony and misdemeanor obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass. The jury found Schmidt guilty on all charges.

Defense attorney Chris van Rossem said the aggravated assault statute is incredibly broad, and the defense theory going into trial was the firearm “was never actually pointed at the deputy.”

Van Rossem said they argued that Schmidt had no intention to shoot the deputy.

“Mr. Schmidt is very grateful and appreciative of the way (the deputy) sort of handled their encounter,” van Rossem said. “From the get-go, (he) was always super grateful and thankful that Mr. Schmidt himself didn’t end up injured or worse. We tried to express some of that throughout the trial and certainly in closing arguments and at the sentencing hearing.”

Gosselin also imposed conditions that Schmidt continue with mental health medications as prescribed and to continue mental health treatment.