Deputies shot in standoff
Injuries not life-threatening; suspect shoots, kills himself

COVINGTON - The Covington/Newton County SWAT team surrounded a home on Parker Road near Jackson Lake late Monday afternoon in what turned out to be a four-hour standoff after two Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies were shot.

According to Lt. Tyrone Oliver, the deputies answered a suicide threat call at about 5:30 p.m. at a home on Parker Road off Ga. Highway 36. When the deputies approached the house, they were shot by someone inside the home, Oliver said.

The suspect then barricaded himself inside and SWAT was called to the scene.

At about 9:30 p.m., Police Chief Stacey Cotton said SWAT had secured the scene, but declined to give further details, saying that would have to come from the NCSO. Fox 5 News reported that the SWAT team had entered the home and found one man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No identification or details on the presumed suicide were given.

The deputies, who have been identified as Wesley Atha and James Trent, were transported by ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center. A hospital spokesman said the two had non-life-threatening injuries and are listed in fair condition, although both victims will require surgery. Atha was said to have been shot in the forearm and back, and the spokesman said she spoke with the deputy who gave credit to his bulletproof vest for saving his life. Trent was shot in the chin and the bullet exited his neck. He was able to tell the hospital spokesman that "Jesus protected us all." Both men expressed gratitude for being alive.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.