Hahira, GA (January 17, 2020) On Thursday, January 16, 2020, at approximately 9:03 p.m., Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk requested the GBI investigate an officer involved shooting which took place at 104 Church Street, Apt. A, in Hahira, Georgia.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) had been requested by Hahira Police to respond to a barricaded man who Hahira Police attempted to arrest earlier in the night on an outstanding bench warrant from Hahira Municipal Court related to an original charge of disorderly conduct. When Hahira Police attempted to arrest Leo Nesmith (DOB 01/1947) at the above address, he retreated inside his apartment and refused to come out and comply with Hahira officers. Officers then entered Nesmith’s apartment, who shot at them with a flare gun, striking one officer. Officers retreated from the apartment, established a perimeter to prevent Nesmith from escaping and then called the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office SRT for assistance.

When the SRT arrived, they attempted to make contact with Nesmith and negotiate with him to surrender. Nesmith continued to refuse to acknowledge and cooperate with law enforcement. SRT members then deployed gas in the apartment in an attempt to force Nesmith out. Nesmith still refused and SRT members attempted entry sometime later to attempt and make the arrest. Upon entry, Nesmith grabbed a crossbow and pointed it at deputies. One deputy fired his weapon, striking Nesmith in the jaw area. First aid was rendered at the scene and Nesmith was transported to a local hospital where he has since been transferred to another facility to treat his wounds. The injury Nesmith sustained was non-life threatening. 

No officers were injured during the incident.

The GBI will continue its independent investigation of the officer involved shooting. Upon completion of the investigation, it will be turned over to District Attorney Brad Shealy for review.

Anyone with information on this case is asked and encouraged to call the GBI at 229-225-4090.


Special Agent in Charge Jamy Steinberg