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Man holds police at bay for hours

Tammy Bowling's face flickered with the red glow of fire engine lights last Wednesday night.

standoff2.jpg

McDuffie County deputies Mike Hobbs (left) and Shea Bunch (right) look at the spot where a bullet passed through the door frame.

"We just want to go home," she said, standing outside her car at the intersection of Old Augusta Road and Old Whiteoak Road -- a mile or so from her home.

But emergency officials had cordoned off a radius around a home in the 2400 block of Old Whiteoak Road as they waited for a standoff with David Kitchens to end.

It marked the second time in as many weeks that deputies were canvassing the area. The first time, on Aug.17, police were investigating a rape and looking for a suspect.

"You think you're safe in a little town like this, but this is the second thing we've had happen here in two weeks," Mrs. Bowling said.

Wednesday's standoff began shortly after 6:15 p.m. when deputies were called to investigate an assault. Deputy Andy Wilmoth arrived first, and saw Mr. Kitchens with a shotgun. Deputy Wilmoth fired, just missing Mr. Kitchens, who then holed up in the mobile home with his girlfriend.

Deputies from Columbia County, Georgia State Patrol troopers, City of Thomson police, members of the Richmond County Sheriff's SWAT team and other agencies responded to the scene as officers tried to talk Mr. Kitchens out of the home.

Eventually, Mr. Kitchens' girlfriend fled the home, police said.

Around 9:15 p.m., members of the SWAT team entered the residence and took Mr. Kitchens into custody. He was taken to McDuffie Regional Medical Center and then to Georgia Regional for evaluation.

Mr. Kitchens was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a police officer, cruelty to children, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

"The best part is nobody got hurt," said McDuffie County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Hobbs, one of the final officers to leave the scene Wednesday night.

Elaine Bales, who lives close to the mobile home where the standoff occurred, was at church at the time of the incident. She said her heart went out to the families involved.

"It could happen anywhere, we know that, but it is still scary," she said.

She also worried that the incidents might cloud the way people think of Dearing.

"What bothers me is that people think Dearing is a bad place and it's not," she said. "It's not."



Web posted on Thursday, September 2, 2004


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