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GBI confirms man shot himself
20-year-old used same gun to wound deputies

COVINGTON - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released the results of an autopsy performed at the Georgia Crime Lab on Thomas Leland Powell, 20, the man who shot two Newton County deputies Monday night before turning the gun on himself.

The report lists the cause of death as "contact-range gunshot wound of head," and the manner of death is listed as suicide.

Bankhead said the single wound to Powell's head was from a small .22 caliber gun and was described as a contact wound in the center of his forehead, "going straight back into (his) brain."

"The .22 is what he was shooting and was definitely not any of the weapons that law enforcement carried," Bankhead said, adding Powell's body had no other injuries of any sort.

He said GBI investigators had determined that no deputies at the scene returned fire on Powell at the time of the incident.

Bankhead said the gun Powell used was a rifle and as far as the investigation had so far revealed, it was the same weapon he used to wound Deputies Wesley Atha and James Trent.

He said toxicology screens are pending.

"There will be a thorough investigation, which will be turned over to the district attorney for review when completed," Bankhead said.

Powell's body was found in the bedroom of a home at 360 Parker Road by members of the Covington/Newton SWAT team who entered the home after a four-hour standoff following a call for help with a suicide threat, according to NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver.

Oliver said it was unknown at what point during the episode that began about 5 p.m. Powell committed suicide. No one else was present in the home during the incident.

Atha was shot twice - once in the arm and once in the back - and Trent was shot in the chin and the bullet exited through his neck. Both deputies were transported to Atlanta Medical Center. Atha underwent surgery on his forearm and remains hospitalized. Trent has reportedly been released from the hospital.

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