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GBI: Man who fled deputy killed himself

CONYERS -- An autopsy has confirmed that a man who fled from a Rockdale County Sheriff's Office deputy Thursday morning died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

The man has been identified as Noel Heard, 42, of a Gwinnett County address.

GBI agents recovered approximately 50 pounds of marijuana from Heard's vehicle and $8,000 in cash, according to a press release issued by GBI spokesman John Bankhead Friday afternoon. A 40 caliber Glock pistol, which had been fired once, was found beside Heard's body along with one spent shell casing, Bankhead said.

The GBI was requested to investigate the death by Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington. The GBI investigation is continuing and once completed will be turned over to the Rockdale County District Attorney.

Bankhead said additional details about the incident would not be released right now as the investigation is ongoing.

According to a statement released by the Sheriff's Office on Thursday afternoon, a deputy was serving a search warrant on a business on General Arts Road on Thursday morning when he noticed a suspicious vehicle. When the deputy turned around his patrol car to observe the other vehicle, "the driver left at a high rate of speed, overturning on Farmer Road near Rockbridge Road."

According to the statement, the deputy rounded a bend in the road in time to see the driver crawl out of the vehicle and run behind a house.

"The deputy heard a shot and discovered the suspect on the ground," according to the statement.

The suspect was transported to Rockdale Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.

Editor Alice Queen contributed to this story.