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Two police chiefs wounded in Ga. shootings

Associated Press Writer

LUMPKIN, Ga. (AP) -- The police chief, a county deputy and a paramedic were wounded during a shootout in this small town's courthouse square Thursday and the suspected gunman was killed during an ensuing gunbattle, authorities said.

The police chief in a nearby town also was wounded during the pursuit of the suspect.

The most seriously injured was the paramedic, who was shot in the leg after arriving at the scene to help the wounded officers, said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The officers' injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Two people were taken into custody, but it was later determined they were hostages of the gunman. The suspected gunman fired at officers with a semiautomatic pistol and was shot and killed by police, Bankhead said.

The episode stemmed from an argument the gunman had earlier with family members, and the suspect may have opened fire on police as part of a desire to commit suicide by being killed by police, said Bankhead, citing statements from witnesses.

The gunfire began about 2 a.m. when officers responded to a report of shots fired outside the Stewart County Courthouse in Lumpkin, a town of about 1,300 people near the Alabama border and 115 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Lumpkin Police Chief Jay Stripling and Stewart County Deputy Clinton Rivers were both shot in the face by a man firing from the courthouse steps, Bankhead said.

The suspect then fled the scene.

A few hours later, after more than 50 officers and a police helicopter swarmed the area, officers confronted the gunman near the courthouse. Marcus Dwayne Dalton, 26, fired at officers with a 9 mm pistol, striking Plains Police Chief Henry Brown.

Officers returned fire and killed Dalton, Bankhead said.

Dalton was on parole and had an extensive rap sheet, including arrests for making terroristic threats and distribution of marijuana, Bankhead said.

Kimberly Daniels, 28, watched in horror as guns fired just a few feet away as she returned home after working the night shift at a factory.

"There were a line of police cars," Daniels said. "I saw a lot of police with guns on their shoulders. I was frightened. I didn't know what was going on."

The injured paramedic, Vance Streeter, underwent surgery and his condition was not immediately known, said Michelle Slaughter, Stewart County Sheriff's dispatcher.

Stripling's jawbone was broken by a bullet and Rivers was shot in the eye, Slaughter said.

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