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Georgia prosecutor won't charge deputy in 2022 shooting

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 17:18:16-05

PERRY, Ga. (AP) — A middle Georgia prosecutor says he won't pursue criminal charges against a sheriff's deputy who in February 2022 shot and killed a man who had been reported as suicidal.

Houston County District Attorney William Kendall told The Telegraph of Macon that the shooting of Matthew Deese, 32, was justified after a two-hour standoff with local officers in Perry.

"The individual involved raised a firearm, pointed it directly at one of the deputies and the deputy in response returned fire,” Kendall said.

Perry police responded to a call about a man trying to kill himself, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said. Deese exited a home holding a gun, and officers tried to get him to put down the firearm, according to GBI. Deese then barricaded himself inside the home.

The Houston County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team took over and tried to negotiate. Deese was later shot and taken to a Macon hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It was one of two times last year when an officer in Houston County shot and killed someone with mental health problems.

Georgia lawmakers last year required the state’s 23 community service boards to provide mental health co-responders to any local law enforcement agency that wants them, hoping to cut down on shootings of mentally distressed people.

Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare, the board that serves Houston County, recently applied for funding from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to create a co-response team for Houston County.