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Baldwin County sheriff says deputies likely saved woman's life after shooting in hammer attack

According to Sheriff Bill Massee, the GBI says that the deputies' efforts to stop Fiesta Murphy's bleeding probably saved her life.

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ga. — Sheriff Bill Massee with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office spoke in a news conference Monday to give an update on the shooting that happened the break-in at Antioch Baptist Church on Old Monticello Road last week. He gave a timeline of events leading up to the shooting.

Massee says 48-year-old Fiesta Murphy was previously arrested on criminal trespassing charges and was released from the Baldwin County jail on December 9. 

After her release, Murphy is believed to have walked to Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, about 2.5-3 miles from the jail, and had had been there since.

On December 13, Pastor Donald Tuft called the sheriff's office about a break-in at the church. Sheriff Massee says Deputy Ernesto Lopez and Deputy Greg See went to investigate.

The video shows Lopez and See searching the church sanctuary for a few minutes before walking into the meeting room. As they entered that room, Murphy immediately attacks Lopez with a hammer, hitting him in the wrist.

The two deputies then shot Murphy. Massee said she was hit in the leg and grazed in the head. He also said Murphy was shot "internally," but did not specify where the injury was.

After Murphy was shot, Lopez and See went to apply pressure and a tourniquet to her leg in order to stop the bleeding. EMS was called to the scene to help.

According to the sheriff, the GBI says that the deputies' efforts to stop Murphy's bleeding probably saved her life.

Murphy was taken to Atrium Health Navicent, The Medical Center in Macon for treatment. Sheriff Massee says Murphy is expected to be released from the hospital within the next week, possibly next week.

She has been charged with Burglary and Arson, and more charges are possible.

The sheriff emphasized the nature of the case, saying that they are seeing more situations involving homeless and mentally-ill people. He says they plan to house Murphy in a facility that can help with mental illness, but that these types of places are becoming harder to come by.

Deputies Lopez and See are on administrative leave pending the GBI's investigation and are expected to return to work after it is complete. Massee says the deputies followed standard procedure and "normal average response" when handling this case.

Antioch personnel plan to repaint and repair the church.

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