Man killed in shootout with Walton County deputies in Rockdale, GBI says

GBI agents investigate a shooting Wednesday in Rockdale County involving the Walton County Sheriff's Office. (John Spink /

Credit: John Spink /

Combined ShapeCaption
GBI agents investigate a shooting Wednesday in Rockdale County involving the Walton County Sheriff's Office. (John Spink /

Credit: John Spink /

Walton County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a man late Tuesday after he fired at them first, according to officials.

The exchange of gunfire came at the end of a chase that traveled into neighboring Rockdale County, according to the GBI. It was the second pursuit to end in gunfire the GBI was asked to investigate Tuesday following another incident in Bartow County, some 80 miles to the north.

No law enforcement officers or bystanders were injured in either shooting.

Around 10:40 p.m., Walton deputies attempted to pull over a 2001 GMC Yukon for canceled insurance, but said the driver, 31-year-old Charles Rice of Covington, accelerated instead of stopping. Rice also had active felony warrants for arrest, GBI officials said.

A pursuit ensued, and deputies chased him into Rockdale, where they performed a maneuver to disable the Yukon near the 4300 block of Haralson Mill Road, officials said. Rice then got out of the SUV and ran away.

Deputies first used a stun gun on Rice, and he pulled a gun from his waistband and fired, the GBI said after their initial investigation. He was killed by return fire, investigators found. A female passenger in the SUV was not injured, according to the GBI.

Just eight hours earlier, law enforcement in Bartow County fired shots while pursuing a suspect in a shooting at a flooring manufacturing facility. Courtney Wilkerson, 43, of Calhoun, allegedly opened fire on employees of Mannington Mills and then shot at officers during a pursuit, the GBI said.

It was not clear if Wilkerson was an employee of the company, or what may have motivated the shooting. The incident unfolded shortly before 2 p.m., and local authorities quickly began searching for an active shooter, according to the GBI. They located Wilkerson in Adairsville, and the chase was on.

Wilkerson allegedly fired at officers before crashing his blue Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck into the back of a cement mixer on Ga. 140 near I-75, the GBI said. He then continued to shoot at officers, who returned fire, injuring him, the state agency said. He was taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in critical condition.

Tuesday’s incidents were the 62nd and 63rd officer-involved shootings the GBI has been asked to investigate in 2023. Once the state agency completes its investigations, the cases will be turned over to the district attorneys offices in Bartow and Rockdale counties, respectively.

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