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Friday shooting leads to multiple arrests

A Dearing man was hospitalized, a father and son were arrested, and a mother is wanted by police in the wake of a domestic dispute that let to a shooting south of Dearing Friday evening.

McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Investigator Larry Adaway said 20-year-old Chad Cooper was treated Friday night and released Saturday for a gunshot wound to the chest at the Medical College of Georgia.

The shooting took place around 5:30 p.m. at 4529 Adams Chapel Road. A 16-year-old male shot Mr. Cooper after the two had an argument, Inv. Adaway said. But that wasn't the story deputies initially heard.

"When our deputies arrived, they were told by the folks that live there that (Mr. Cooper) was standing on the porch or in the doorway, and a car drove down the road and fired three shots with one of those shots striking the victim in the chest," Inv. Adaway said. "...As I began to work this case, I found out shortly thereafter that this story that was given us by these folks there was fabricated."

The juvenile suspect - which authorities did not identify - was taken into custody in Augusta later Friday evening. He is being charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, Inv. Adaway said.

Possible additional charges against the suspect are pending. Because a group was standing outside the home at the time of the shooting, he might be charged with five counts of aggravated assault, Inv. Adaway said.

The suspect's parents - who witnessed the shooting - have also been charged with giving false statements and concealment of facts. Keith Wayne Norton, 45, was arrested for telling deputies that the shooting was a drive by, Inv. Adaway said. As of late Tuesday, police were still searching for Ruby Lee Norton, 42.

"This is their son," he said. "The victim, he has lived there. He's a friend of this guy's, and I guess, simply, they didn't want to get him in any trouble. Consequently, they've gotten themselves in some trouble."

He added that others present at the residence during the shooting may also be charged with giving false statements. According to Inv. Adaway, the suspect had not lived at that address for a couple of months, but there had been a history of disputes between residents there.

"Our deputies have answered several calls there," he said.

Prior to the shooting, authorities found that the suspect had been in an argument with family members, left the home and returned later. Inv. Adaway said the suspect "simply got out of the car and started shooting."

Juvenile Court Judge Britt Hammond denied bond for the suspect Monday. He is being held at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Augusta.

Web posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007

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