Suspect shot by deputy in NE Georgia faces assault charge

A Toccoa man accused of trying to take a deputy’s gun during a tussle in northeast Georgia has been charged, authorities said.

GBI investigators filed an arrest warrant against Joel Eugene Keller, 36, on charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Keller remained stable and continued to recover in a hospital Wednesday after being wounded in the officer-involved shooting Tuesday in Stephens County.

Additional charges against Keller are expected, according to GBI officials.

The charges stem from an incident that began Tuesday afternoon when a Stephens County deputy tried to stop a Chevrolet Silverado on Yearwood Road around 1:20 p.m., according to the GBI. It is not clear why the officer tried to stop the vehicle.

According to the GBI, Keller refused to stop and a chase ensued. The pursuit ended a few miles south when he crashed the pickup truck on Broad River Road, climbed out of the vehicle and approached the deputy, a GBI spokesperson said in a news release.

“There was a struggle between the driver and deputy, and during this struggle the deputy’s gun was unholstered,” Nelly Miles said. “The deputy and the driver fought over the gun during which the deputy fired one shot, striking the driver.”

Keller’s injuries are not considered life-threatening, Miles said. The deputy was not injured.

The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI to investigate the shooting, the 14th officer-involved shooting the state agency has handled this year.

Earlier Tuesday, the GBI was called to Coweta County following a shooting on I-85. According to authorities, Coweta deputies opened fire on a man driving a stolen tractor-trailer northbound on the interstate after he struck a patrol vehicle.

The man at the wheel, later identified as 56-year-old Bobby Gene Ingram, was shot multiple times, GBI officials said. He was treated at the scene before being taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, and his injuries are not considered life-threatening, the state agency said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don’t involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI’s tally.

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