COVINGTON - A 40-year-old Jasper County man was killed in Newborn on Tuesday night after he shot himself in the head with a high-powered rifle following a police chase on Ga. Highway 142.
According to John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the incident started when the man, identified as David Kiker, 39, became involved in a domestic altercation with his wife earlier in the evening at their home in Monticello.
Kiker's wife called authorities on her husband, who left the residence in his pickup.
A Jasper County Sheriff's Office deputy later spotted the victim about 6 p.m. and attempted to pull him over, but Kiker refused to stop and continued traveling down Ga. 142 toward Newborn and across the county line into Newton County, Bankhead said.
After leading Jasper County authorities on a slow speed chase at speeds around 45 mph, Kiker eventually pulled over at the Newborn Fertilizer Company near the intersection of Ga. 142 and Johnson Street, at which point the stop turned deadly.
"The deputy got out of the vehicle, ordered (Kiker) out and then he heard a loud boom or shot," Bankhead said. "He asked for backup, they came and then found (Kiker) had shot himself with a high-powered rifle inside the vehicle. The damage done to (the victim) was way far and above what would have been done by a pistol carried by a police officer."
Several witnesses confirmed the deputy's account of the incident, according to Bankhead.
"We'll do a thorough investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the incident at the request of both the Jasper County sheriff and the Newton County sheriff," he said.
It is customary for county law enforcement agencies to request the GBI investigate any shooting incident involving their officers.
Joel Griffin can be reached at email@example.com