South Paulding and Dugan Elementary schools were placed on lockdown briefly until deputies took the four into custody, the department reported.
At approximately 7:58 a.m., Villa Rica police responded to a "shots fired" call in the city limits of Villa Rica. Upon arrival Villa Rica officers made contact with the suspect vehicle -- a 2001 white Ford F-150 crew cab -- which immediately fled from them. When officers gave chase, a pursuit ensued.
Villa Rica officers chased the suspects north on Ga. Hwy. 61 (Villa Rica Highway) into southern Paulding County. Once the pursuit entered Paulding County, one of the suspects leaned out the window of the truck and began firing rounds from a high-powered assault rifle at the Villa Rica officer who was pursuing, the sheriff's department reported. As the chase continued in Paulding County, Paulding deputies along with Georgia State Troopers got involved in the incident.
After going down many roads in Paulding County the pursuit eventually ended up
on Winn Road. The suspect turned into Brookwood subdivision which is directly
across the street from South Paulding High and Dugan Elementary schools.
Once in the subdivision, the suspect vehicle drove through yards, destroyed
mailboxes, and drove through a privacy fence. The vehicle ultimately became
disabled when it plowed through a pine tree thicket in one of the wooded portions of
When the vehicle got stuck, four subjects ran on foot within the wooded area.
"Since the subjects were directly across the street from both schools and were possibly
armed, South Paulding High School and Dugan Elementary School were
immediately placed on lockdown," the department reported.
After a search of the area the two female suspects and one of the male suspects were located in the woods. A short time later, the other male suspect was located by a sheriff's department K-9 Unit in the woods between South Paulding and Dugan. Both male suspects were wearing body armor -- bulletproof vests -- when they were arrested. A subsequent search of the truck revealed one high powered “SKS” type assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol.
The suspects were identified as Amanda McGee, 35; Kimberly Mauldin, 27; David Anthony Bray, 35; and Raymond Edward Messel, 29.
"The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Villa Rica Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, the Hiram Police Department, the Paulding County Marshal’s Bureau, and the Paulding County E-911 Center for their invaluable help with this incident," the department reported.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge said, “This was a situation where law enforcement, the school district, first responders, and the community came together to catch some extremely dangerous criminals."
The suspects never entered the school and the children at either school were never in danger. The lockdown was done as a precautionary measure, the department reported.
All four suspects were transported to the Carroll County jail where they will face of host of felony and misdemeanor charges. The suspects will also face felony and misdemeanor charges in Paulding County as well.
Those who saw any of this pursuit or may have property damage as a result of this incident, are urged to call the Criminal Investigations Division at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office at (770) 443-3015.