Grovetown (WJBF) – UPDATE:
A 61 year-old Grovetown male is dead after a deputy involved shooting. Police say Ronald Audette allegedly planned a mass shooting between Friday and Saturday.
Columbia County’s Force Investigation Team responded to the residence at around 7 PM. The house has a “Back The Blue” sign right here, but police say one of the disturbing comments made by Audette was that “good law enforcement officers would die.
Special Operations Division with Columbia County, Captain Butch Askew, “when you see those signs out there it is kind of strange we would be put in that situation on the property.”
A situation where a handgun was directly pointed at three deputies, police say.
“We received a call from a concerned citizen who advised us that he had information that Ronald Audette was going to either harm himself or harm others,” says Captain Askew.
Captain Askew says they don’t have hard evidence of Audette’s alleged plans for a mass shooting, but it is something they take very seriously.
“In this day in age, you can’t say ‘oh that’s a hoax’ or anything else. You have to investigate everything, and that’s what we do to the best of our ability. If we get calls about something that happened in the school or something that happened in a business or someone making a threat like this that is something that is going to initiate a response in the Sheriff’s Office, and we are going to investigate it fully ,” says Captain Askew.
Police say they tried to get a hold of Audette after talking with his wife. They finally got him on the phone, but he was refusing to come out of the house.
“When he did come out of the residence last night, he was armed with a hand gun, walked out to the deputies who were around the perimeter and pointed it towards the deputies, and at that time, we had three deputies fire their weapons towards Mr. Audette and shoot him,” says Captain Askew.
Shooting Audette was to stop the threat, not to kill him.
“We immediately last night, after he was shot began to render first aid to him and do what we can until the EMS personnel arrived,” says Captain Askew.
Audette was transported to Doctors Hospital where he later died in surgery.
The three deputies are on paid Administrative Leave as the use of force incident is still under investigation.
GROVETOWN (WJBF) – Columbia County dispatch got a call around 7:00 Thursday evening from a concerned citizen stating that 61 year old Ronald Audette made some disturbing comments, and they believed Ronald might hurt himself or someone else.
Allegedly Audette planned a mass shooting between now and this Saturday. He continued to say good law enforcement officers would die and he did not plan on coming home.
Deputies arrived to the 5700 block of Broad Oak Road in Grovetown and spoke with him by phone but he refused to come out of his home and disconnected the call.
A short time later Audette came out with a gun in his hand. Deputies identified themselves and gave repeated commands to drop the weapon. Audette never acknowledged deputies and continued to walk towards an open field, then raised the firearm.
Deputies fired several rounds hitting him in his arm and torso. They rendered aid immediately and he was taken to Doctor’s Hospital where he died in surgery.
The Columbia County Force Investigation Team responded to the scene.
The sheriff’s office responded to a request from WJBF saying that there was no history of incidents at the residence and that Audette was not known for causing problems.
Three deputies are on administrative leave with pay while this use of force incident is under investigation.
Continue to follow NewsChannel 6 for more on this developing story.