The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office detailed the Thursday police chase that put three schools on lockdown.
According to the sheriff's office, the chase started in Villa Rica with a report of shots fired and ended in southern Paulding County, where four suspects fled into the woods from the vehicle they crashed. As a result, South Paulding High and Dugan Elementary on Winn Road were locked down, and Austin Middle nearby was locked down later.
Arrested were two men and two women — David Anthony Bray, 35, Raymond Edward Messel, 29, and Amanda Hilary McGee, 35, and Kimberly Denise Maulden, 27. Bray, Messel and McGee were still in the Carroll County Jail Friday and facing several felonies. Maulden, charged with criminal trespass, was released, according to jail records.
The Paulding Sheriff’s Office said the following took place Thursday morning:
- At approximately 7:58 a.m. on Thursday, March 6, Villa Rica Police responded to a shots-fired call and made contact with a white Ford F-150 pickup truck, which immediately fled.
- Villa Rica PD chased the truck north on GA 61 (Villa Rica Highway) into southern Paulding County.
- Once the pursuit entered Paulding County, one of the suspects leaned out the window and fired at the Villa Rica officer with a “high-powered assault rifle.”
- Paulding deputies and the Georgia State Patrol joined the pursuit, which traveled down many roads, then onto Winn Road.
- The truck, with Messel the driver, turned into the Brookwood subdivision, directly across from the high school and elementary school, which share the same campus.
- In the subdivision, the truck plowed through yards, destroyed mailboxes, and ran through a fence, before getting stuck in a thicket of pine trees.
- The four fled, and since they were armed, the two schools were immediately locked down. None of the suspects were on school property.
- When police apprehended the suspects, the two men were wearing body armor (bulletproof vests).
- A high powered “SKS” type assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol was found in the truck.
Paulding Sheriff Gary Gutledge credited the quick apprehension of the suspects due to coordination of many agencies.
“This was a situation where law enforcement, the school district, first responders, and the community came together to catch some extremely dangerous criminals,” he said.