A man shot in an exchange of gunfire with deputies at a Douglas County home died Wednesday, authorities said.
The deputies were attempting to speak with the man, identified as 29-year-old Steven Blunt by the GBI, while investigating a report of a person with a gun at a Special Olympics event at nearby New Manchester High School. According to the GBI and Douglas County officials, Blunt opened fire on the deputies following a brief conversation at the front door, and a deputy returned fire.
“Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired!” deputies were heard yelling immediately after the shootout, which was captured on video from a doorbell camera and shared with Channel 2 Action News. It marked the end of a two-hour search that involved Douglas County school police, sheriff’s deputies and police dogs, officials said during a news conference from the scene.
New Manchester was placed on lockdown during the early stages of the Special Olympics event, which started at 10 a.m., according to Douglas County Schools police Chief Tracey L. Whaley. He said an event attendee spotted an armed man at the stadium near the school. School resource officers then made contact with the man, who fled the scene.
“(There is) no information that the subject brandished the gun, but yes that the subject was armed on campus,” Whaley said.
A perimeter was set up as authorities searched. Sheriff’s officials said a cellphone that was found on the ground led them to a home on Ferncrest Place shortly after noon, where doorbell camera footage shows Blunt answered the door.
Dressed in a bathrobe, he appeared calm as a deputy greeted him and asked what he’d been up to earlier, the video shows. “Nothing much,” the man replied, before he appeared to pull a gun from the robe and stepped out of frame. A series of gunshots can be heard.
Credit: WSBTV Videos
Blunt was struck by the gunfire and taken to a hospital, where he died, according to the GBI. No deputies were injured.
The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy.
Authorities have not confirmed Blunt was the man seen at the high school but said he matched his description. It was not clear if he had any other connection to the school.
The extended lockdown was lifted around 1 p.m., when authorities were certain the man was no longer a threat, Whaley said.
“We had to ensure everything and everyone was safe,” he added.
Officials immediately notified parents and family members by text and email of the situation and teachers remained by their students’ side, said Douglas County Schools spokesperson Portia Lake.
She spoke about the anxiety and concerns for many parents following this week’s school shooting in Nashville.
“It’s just unfortunate that we always have to continue worrying about our children, praying about the safety of our children and schools across the nation,” she said.
Wednesday’s incident marked the 25th officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate this year.
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