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Raw Chatter

This past weekend, I got to see some local law enforcement friends engaged in a potentially dangerous situation.

It actually occurred on Saturday afternoon, about 3:30 p.m. and followed a motorcycle-truck wreck on the Augusta Highway in Thomson.

Listening to the police scanner for breaking news, which I do a whole lot of every day and night, I heard Deputy Marc Coy of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department receive a call from dispatch to get in touch with Deputy Sammy Purvis of the Warren County Sheriff's Department right away.

After their conversation, Deputy Purvis spoke with Thomson Police Sgt. Jammie Smith about the matter. At the time, I was standing outside Sgt. Smith's patrol car, waiting to talk with him concerning details related to the traffic mishap earlier. After talking with Deputy Purvis, Sgt. Smith rolled down his window and told me and Donna Branch, news director of WTHO, that he wasn't trying to be rude, but he had received a call that he couldn't discuss at the time.

Quickly, he left from one of the parking spaces near the McDuffie County Courthouse and headed down the Mesena Road. As veteran reporters, we both knew something was brewing and brewing big.

The reason: Sgt. Smith was coordinating a round-up of as many law enforcement officers as he could find to meet at the old Thomson Oak Flooring Company. Sgt. Smith, a veteran police officer, met with Officer Don Hilson, as well as Deputies Coy, Henry Campbell and Leonard Neal. They also called for backup from two Georgia State Patrol troopers, John Freeman and Powell Allen.

Before the troopers could join them, though, the lawmen quickly left from the old industry and sped down the Mesena Road. As he was passing my truck, he rolled down the window of his patrol car to let me know that they were going on a very dangerous call and for us to stay back and to be careful.

I replied, thanks and for him to take care, too.

As reporters, we followed from a distance and turned onto Star Hinson Road after seeing lawmen turn into the entrance of Walton Village, located off Mesena Road.

Quickly three men - one of whom was armed with a handgun - could be seen running from authorities. Sgt. Smith chased down one of them from behind, while two more suspects - all wanted for a string of armed robberies of convenience stores in McDuffie and Richmond counties - fled through an open field before disappearing into a wooded area.

Lawmen searched for another half hour before finding and arresting those young men.

GSP Trooper First Class Powell Allen commended the actions of those lawmen, saying, "Those guys really did a professional job in catching those suspects without anybody getting hurt. They made all of us who wear a badge feel proud."

Web posted on Thursday, July 31, 2008

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