Emanuel County, GA (May 21, 2019) – On Friday, May 17, 2019, the GBI was requested by the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an officer involved shooting.  

Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 1:30 pm, the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office received information from officials in Jeff Davis County that a vehicle and cargo trailer stolen from their area was believed to be located in the Garfield community in Emanuel County. While on the way to investigate this report, deputies received updated information that the alleged subject in the case had left the area by taking another vehicle without permission.

Shortly thereafter, deputies observed that vehicle driven by the subject, identified as Christopher Thomas Hatton, age 33, of Lumber City, GA, and attempted a traffic stop. Instead of stopping, Hatton sped away, leading deputies on a chase at excessive speeds that spanned several miles. During the chase, Hatton displayed a weapon and fired it in the direction of the deputies.  Subsequently, Deputy Elec Wheeler discharged his firearm in the direction of Hatton’s vehicle as it was traveling down Highway 80 outside of Twin City, Emanuel County, Georgia. 

During the chase, Hatton stopped and approached a civilian parked on a bridge on South Old Reidsville Road, Twin City, Emanuel County, Georgia.  Hatton produced a weapon and threatened to kill the civilian. The civilian was able to put up a struggle with Hatton, taking the firearm from Hatton. Hatton then took the civilian’s vehicle and continued to flee from the deputies. Pursuing deputies were able to intervene.  Emanuel County Deputy Marty Mercer fired his weapon at the stolen vehicle occupied by Hatton, resulting in Hatton wrecking the vehicle.  Hatton was taken into custody without further incident and not injured by the firearm.

Hatton is currently held without bond at the Emanuel County Jail on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges including Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, and Theft by Taking. 

No one was injured by gunfire during the incident. One deputy was treated and released from Emanuel Medical Center for minor injuries received in a single vehicle wreck during the chase.

The GBI will continue its independent investigation.  Once complete, it will be provided to the Emanuel County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Contact Information:

Lindsey Wilkes - Special Agent in Charge - 478/374-6988