LIZELLA, Ga. — The Bibb County Sheriff's Office is releasing new details about how an air search for a suicidal man in Lizella unfolded Sunday. Neighbors say the man roamed the neighborhood with an AR-15 and broke into a home before taking his own life.
This is after the sheriff's office reported Sunday night that the man was not a danger to the public.
Multiple people who live in the south Bibb neighborhood say a man wandered house-to-house along Holley Road with an AR-15 in hand, walking up to children with the rifle by his side.
The situation then escalated into a chaotic scene. A Georgia State Patrol chopper hovering overhead, searching for an armed suicidal man that was somewhere in the woods.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says it began with a 911 call at 4:45 p.m. A concerned family member said 37-year-old Gary Jones had left a home on Hamlin Road armed.
"They may have been trying to have an intervention with this individual and take all his guns. Well, he took a gun from the homeowner and left down Holley Road," said Major Brad Wolfe.
Jones’ family told deputies they were worried he would harm himself. "They said he’s never had an episode like this," Wolfe said.
Then, Major Wolfe says they got a call at around 5 p.m. about a man breaking into an elderly couple’s home at 4623 Holley Road.
"He was trying to get the homeowner to kill him. He kept saying, 'Please kill me, please kill me,' rather than trying to harm the homeowner. The homeowner tried to defend himself. They got into a tussle," Wolfe said.
The office previously reported Jones fired shots before running into the woods. Now, they say the homeowner "thought" he heard gunshots. Investigators say they have not found shell casings.
The sheriff’s office says the elderly homeowner sustained minor cuts and bruises. Deputies say Jones then left the home.
Pictures circulating on social media show neighbor Danny Carmichael speaking with Jones shortly after he left the elderly couple's home.
"He asked me to shoot him, please, to just get rid of him. I asked him, 'Why would I shoot you, man? There’s nothing in this world worth dying over,'" Carmichael told 13WMAZ. "He says, 'The military’s after me. They’re going to put me in a hole, torture me, and I’d be better off dead.'"
Jones’ family then arrived to the scene.
Two witnesses said the man walked into a yard, knelt down in the middle of the field and pointed the gun at himself. Neighbors yelled, "'Don’t do it, don’t do it,'" witnesses say.
Jones didn’t shoot, but instead, ran into the woods.
"35, 45 minutes later, we heard a single gunshot," Carmichael said.
The sheriff’s office says that’s when they believe Jones committed suicide. A Georgia State Patrol chopper searched the area off and on for roughly eight hours before Jones' body was recovered at about 1:30 a.m. Monday.