Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh: Gunned Down in Cold Blood

It’s as tragic as it is horrifying… a disgruntled army soldier decides the best possible course of action is to shoot a policeman in cold blood.

Unfortunately for Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James Paugh, he had just finished a shift and was on his way home near Augusta, Georgia, when his path crossed that of Christopher Michael Hodges.

Hodges was a member of the Tennessee National Guard who had been training at Fort Gordon, GA for the past 6 months.

Whatever “issues” Hodges had with the world, we will never know because as just quickly as he fired the 9 shots that murdered Deputy James Paugh, he turned his M4 rifle on himself and ended his own life.

It would have been SO much better if Hodges would have just killed himself first and left Deputy Paugh out of it, and I suppose I’ll have to settle for being grateful Hodges is dead while mourning the loss of another good policeman.

As a cop, just surviving your shift some days can be a big deal, but to have accomplished that and be on your way home, only to have some lunatic shoot you dead just seems like the ultimate insult.

According to news reports Hodges clearly had some problems.  He’d been fighting with his girlfriend as they drove down the Bobby Jones Expressway and had even gotten into a physical altercation with her as their car was stopped on the side of the road.

Sitting in his car on the side of the highway that night,  Christopher Hodges’ idea of a good time was shooting his M4 at passing traffic.  Investigators discovered he’d fired at least 35 shots at passing automobiles.

That morphed into Hodges killing the man who had simply stopped to check if everyone was okay before continuing home at the end of his shift.  Sadly for Deputy Paugh he was a cop who was simply, as they say, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He had no idea shots were being fired at passing traffic.

It was the biggest mistake he ever made, and it cost him his life.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Paugh probably didn’t realize Hodges and his girlfriend had been fighting on the side of the road and that the officer had just pulled over to conduct a well-being check.
That dedicated character is what hundreds of colleagues, friends and family remembered about Paugh as they gathered at the Richmond County Law Enforcement Center for a remembrance vigil Sunday evening.

Standing on top of a grassy mound in the center’s parking lot at 401 Way, Strength told the crowd Paugh was a “fun-loving guy” who was a dedicated officer despite the dangers that come with the profession.

We never know in law enforcement, when we wake up in the morning, what’s going to happen,” Strength said.

He definitely didn’t know. … He’s in a better place than we are today. No doubt in my mind.”

As always when we hear of good men and women from law enforcement gunned down for no reason by people like this… our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh in this time of grief and mourning.

As Sheriff Ronnie Strength said, “He’s in a better place than we are today.”

I’m equally certain that the man who so callously murdered him before taking his own life is somewhere much, much hotter… just as he should be.


Funeral services for Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh will be held this coming Thursday, October 27, 2011, according to officials.   Please send your thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of James Paugh at that time, and as for you James, may you Rest In Peace.


3 thoughts on “Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James D. Paugh: Gunned Down in Cold Blood

  1. First and foremost my love and prayers go out to Sheriff James D. Paugh and his family.I am in NO way excusing his actions but I new Chris and he belongs to a family that loved him very much an are grieveing as well. You make him sound like a cold hearted killer and I don’t believe that was the case. Chris was a fighter for our country in Iraq so that we can be safe, God only knows what he saw and what that can do to a person. (Again not making excuses)I don’t beleve hE ment to kill Sheriff Paugh, when he realized what he did he turned the gun on himself. I feel sorry for him because it takes alot for a person to get to that point and it’s sad that his inner demons got the best of him causing him to take anothers life and his own. My prayers go out to both James D. Paugh , and his family as well as Christopher Hodges and his family. May both families find light out of this darkness and forgiveness in their hearts.

    1. Naeema, whether you believe he was a cold-hearted killer or not, the facts pretty much speak for themselves. He fired over 30 shots at passing motorists before murdering Deputy Sheriff James D. Paugh.

      Do you comprehend that? He intentionally and purposefully endangered the lives of countless people driving along that road that night, and you have the audacity to tell me he was a good guy?

      Sorry, I don’t buy it.

      Whether or not he “meant it“, he murdered Deputy Paugh by firing 9 rounds from his rifle into the good Deputy’s body. 9 rounds sounds pretty intentional to me and I have no sympathy for the murder whatseoever.

      He had LOTS of options open to him. He chose the path he took, just as we all do. He didn’t have to go shooting at passing motorists or murder a man who was only stopping to try and help, yet he did, and for that you think I should feel sorry for him? Good luck with that.

      My thoughts and prayers will go where they belong, to the family and friends of Sherrif James D. Paugh. Lest we forget in the rush to feel sorry for a murderer, Deputy Paugh was the guy who was
      a) off-duty
      b) on his way home to his family and
      c) stopping to help out what he perceived to be a stranded motorist.

      **HE** was the good guy, not the ******* who murdered him in cold blood.

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