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Troopers reverted back to their training with shooter threat
Several people were inside post during active shooter situation
Leighton Marchetta
Leighton Beaux Marchetta

When a man with a hunting rifle presented a threat to a Georgia State Patrol post Monday, the troopers fell back into their training for active shooter situations, Gainesville post commander Sgt. Richard Harper of GSP said Tuesday.

“Being presented with the situation that they were in, both of them did very well and reverted back to their training,” Harper said. “They both went for cover ... and gave the verbal commands for the subject to drop the weapon.”

Leighton Beaux Marchetta, 21, of Gainesville, drove to the post at Cleveland Highway around 8 a.m. Monday with a high-powered hunting rifle.

At the time, Harper said several people were inside the post, including dispatchers, troopers, the troop secretary and the post secretary. 

“The lobby itself is secured,” he said. “Once you come in the building, it’s controlled access.”

All of the troopers received instruction in Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, which works on active shooter situations.

Harper said the class was taken last year, and troopers will take periodic refresher classes on the information.

According to the preliminary information from the investigation, Marchetta fired two shots and appeared to be drunk. The troopers, Steve Thompson and Jeremy Allison, took cover.

One of the troopers, Harper said, took cover behind a tree.

Marchetta didn’t follow the commands from the troopers, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials, and moved forward.

Thompson then shot Marchetta in the right shoulder, said GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang on Monday.

The high-powered rifle could have torn through the armor worn by the troopers.

“These are just soft body armor that are designed to protect against handgun fire at close range to protect the vital organs,” Harper said.

Marchetta had his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and faces two counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer. No committal hearing was scheduled, and bond must be set by Superior Court.

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