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Thursday February 11th, 2016 8:04AM

Habersham officials trying to unravel assault case

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLARKESVILLE - Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell says a call that came in Tuesday afternoon as a shooting turned out to be an assault apparently made in self-defense, though not a gunshot.

"The incident came in as a shooting, but it was actually an assault, but after talking to a couple of witnesses and the one individual involved, it looks like a self-defense," Terrell said.

The incident happened in the Hollywood community between Clarkesville and Turnerville.

"A gentleman from Rabun County came down to Hollywood Church Road and was accusing this gentleman of owing him money on a washing machine he sold him," Terrell said. "He pulled up in the yard in a truck pulling a trailer, and he pulled a weapon on [the resident], so the [resident] in self-defense got the crowbar and hit [the Rabun County man] in the head."

The Rabun County man then left the yard.

The resident's wife was there "and saw him down there at the road walking around, still brandishing the firearm," Terrell said. "The gentleman who was at home, he got scared and got in his truck and left."

Terrell said the Rabun County man had a passenger with him in the truck. That passenger left on foot.

The Rabun County man who had been hit in the head with the crowbar drove the truck to the Kangaroo station in Hollywood, where they called 9-1-1.

"They thought he'd been shot with a gun," Terrell said. "That's how the call came out was a gunshot to the head - a gunshot wound. When the deputies got there, EMS was preparing to transport. He did have a small, semi-automatic handgun in his front pants pocket."

The Rabun County man with the head wound was transferred by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

"He has a bleed on the brain and a skull fracture, so we don't know his status is," Terrell said. "We haven't been able to talk to him."

Terrell said the passenger's story is consistent with what the resident's wife told deputies. Also, deputies have talked with the resident by phone and investigators will be interviewing him tomorrow.

"The stories are lining up and the evidence is lining up," Terrell said. "We are not looking at any charges right now."

Terrell said investigators want to interview the injured man, if possible.

"We hope he survives," Terrell said. "I don't know how serious his injuries are."

Terrell said once interviews are completed, officers will get with the district attorney and present the evidence as investigators see it.

"As we stand right now, we're looking at self-defense," Terrell said.

Terrell is withholding the men's names until Wednesday.
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