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GBI: Former Cairo Police Chief accused of theft dies from gunshot wound

A death investigation is underway
Posted: 1:30 PM, Dec 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-20 18:21:11-05
Cairo Sandefur

CAIRO, Ga. (WTXL) — People in Cairo are sad and in shock after hearing about the death of former police chief Keith Sandefur.

Some people knew him from his role at the police station, or by how he started the department's Shop with a Cop program.

Others knew that he was arrested earlier this month on theft charges.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation tells us he died from a single gunshot wound, at a gun range on Thursday in Cairo.

While the former police chief's death is still under investigation, people in the community tell us, he will be missed.

Hearing about the death of Sandefur still comes as a shock to those who call Cairo home.

"I'm shocked. I'm shocked. This kind of stuff doesn't happen in a small town like this," said Sam Mahdavi, who lives in Cairo.

Sandefur played a big role in Cairo. He served as the police chief for 24 years, according to Cairo's mayor.

There's no doubt that Sandefur made an impact on the people living and working in the town. Including those at a cafe where Sandifur used to visit quite often.

"He did come here a lot and it's just crazy to see him gone," said Emily McGinnis, who works at Dark Horse Java.

McGinnis only hopes to keep his memory alive as people in town patiently wait for more answers about his death.

"He was always such a happy person. When ever he was in the room it felt warm. He was a really good guy," said McGinnis.

GBI is currently handling the case. We do know that Sandefur died as result of a gunshot wound at a gun range in Cairo.

The city mayor sent us a statement regarding his death, saying:

"I'm saddened to learn of the recent passing of Chief Keith Sandefur. Chief Sandefur served the City of Cairo for over 40 years. I am asking that you keep his family, friends, and the Cairo Police Department in your prayers."

The Sheriff's Office and Police Department here in town told us they do not wish to comment on his passing at this time.

We also reached out to the City of Cairo to see if they had anything to say and are still waiting to hear back.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of former Cairo Police Chief Keith Sandefur.

ABC 27 confirmed that Sandefur died on Thursday. Agents say Sandefur died of a single gunshot wound after a shooting at a gun range in Cairo.

GBI is waiting for a medical autopsy report to determine the circumstances surrounding his death.

Sandefur was arrested earlier this month on two counts of theft by conversion.

GBI says an investigation into Sandefur found he was purchasing property and charging it to the City of Cairo. He then gave that property to his friends.