The suspect was holding a weapon in each hand while shooting, Sheriff Greg Countryman told reporters, according to WTVM. Their special operations unit then returned fire, he added.
Following a brief pause, Maxwell fired another volley through the window, which struck parked vehicles and nearby occupied rooms. Deputies shot back, striking Maxwell, the state agency said.
After the gunfire stopped, a robot was sent inside the room and found Maxwell lying on the floor, the sheriff said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the GBI.
Countryman said Maxwell was still holding an automatic rifle and was surrounded by other loaded firearms, one of which was stolen. He had been wanted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on multiple outstanding felony warrants, the sheriff added, and was suspected of being part of several firearm thefts.
No officers were injured in the shooting. The sheriff’s office asked the GBI to conduct an independent investigation later Friday.
“Last night, (the unit) encountered someone who meant to kill them on sight,” the sheriff added on Facebook. “They placed their lives on the line to protect the lives of the citizens of Muscogee County.”
The hotel is located near I-185 and about a mile from the Columbus airport.
Once the GBI completes its investigation, the case will be given to the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.
The incident was the 71st officer-involved shooting the GBI has been asked to investigate in 2023 and the second Friday. As of the same time last year, there had been 89 such shootings.