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Patrolman, sergeant, investigator fired weapons in fatal shooting of gunman
Suspect killed after opening fire on officers
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A man was fatally shot by Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies after authorities say he opened fire on the officers on Ridgeway Drive off Skelton Road in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

A deputy, sergeant and investigator with a collective 28 years of services were involved in the shooting case Thursday, June 14, near Skelton Road.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office released more information on the officers placed on paid leave after an open records request by The Times. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the officers involved were Deputy Kevin Lyle, Sgt. Nathan Manley and Investigator Michael Atkins.

Lyle and Atkins have three and five years of service, respectively, while Manley has served for 20 years.

“The deputies involved in ... (the) incident ranged all the way from seasoned veteran to new patrolman. While the loss of life — even that of an openly aggressive, armed attacker who was already wanted for committing serious crimes — is never something that we seek out or in which we take pleasure, I’m proud to say that not only did our deputies prevail, but they did so without being harmed and without any harm coming to innocent parties,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in part of a statement released Friday, June 15.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth said 911 received a call around 6:40 a.m. Thursday, June 14, about a suspicious person armed with a gun at Ridgeway Mobile Home Park off of Skelton Road. Joseph Villanueva, 29, of California, was reportedly walking between mobile homes, according to the GBI.

One deputy found Villanueva, who reportedly showed the deputy his gun and ran. 

GBI public affairs director Nelly Miles said Villanueva ran up a hill and “encountered a second deputy and charged towards this deputy with his gun pointed at him.”

“He pulled a gun and fired at deputies while he was running. We believe he fired multiple rounds at deputies,” Booth said.

Villanueva died at the scene. No deputies were injured in the incident.

Booth said three officers fired their service weapons.

“Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be provided to the Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney for review,” Miles wrote in a news release.

Booth said Tuesday, June 19, that all three were still on paid administrative leave.

“I’m grateful first and foremost for their safety, but also for their dedication to duty and their performance under dire circumstances. I ask that our community continue to support the men and women who quite literally put their lives on the line out there every day,” Couch said in his statement.

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