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McDuffie County commissioner, brother being questioned about incident related to threats towards aircraft pilot

A McDuffie County commissioner and his brother are expected to be questioned further today regarding an incident that reportedly involved threats made towards an aircraft pilot at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport on Wednesday night.

An investigator with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department questioned Commissioner Paul McCorkle and his brother, Sammy McCorkle, at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement until about midnight. Neither man was charged with any crime late Wednesday, according to Investigator Larry Adaway.

"Right now, we're in an investigative stage," Investigator Adaway said shortly after questioning the men for about 2½ hours on Wednesday night. "We don't know at this time what laws, if any, have been broken."

The investigation may also involve other law enforcement agencies, he said. An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contacted the sheriff's department late Wednesday in reference to the ongoing investigation.

Investigator Adaway said both Paul McCorkle and Sammy McCorkle were scheduled to return to the law enforcement center for more questioning this morning. That meeting was expected to include Sheriff Logan Marshall. Later in the day, the investigator said he hoped to interview the pilot of the aircraft.

Commissioner McCorkle, who is in his first-term, told The McDuffie Mirror that he and his brother drove to the airport after a low-flying aircraft passed over his mother's home off Wrightsboro Road about 7:30 p.m. Family members were out eating pizza on the patio at Mrs. McCorkle's at the time.

Mr. McCorkle said he attempted to find out who the aircraft was registered to by telephoning the airport, but that when he was told such information could not be released he and his brother drove to the airport.

Witnesses said two men walked into the airport and then through doors that lead to the tarmac where the aircraft sat, awaiting departure. Threats reportedly were made by at least one of those men. One of the threats reportedly involved shooting down the aircraft, if it flew across homes that low again.

A sign on the doors leading to the tarmac prohibits anyone from that area unless they are pilots, passengers or airport personnel.

Afterwards the men drove away from the airport in a pickup truck - a description and license plate of which later were provided to authorities. Sheriff's deputies, Thomson police officers and troopers with the Georgia State Patrol began looking for the men, who were found less than a half hour later.

Commissioner McCorkle and his brother were taken by deputies to the airport where they gave written statements. They later were taken from the airport to the law enforcement center for additional questioning by Investigator Adaway.

Web posted on Thursday, July 09, 2009

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