A Spalding County deputy remained in critical condition Saturday but he is expected to recover from the gunshot wound he received to his face by a man threatening suicide, according to sheriff’s office Capt. Tony Ranieri.
Deputy Joe Buice had taken cover behind his patrol car when Michael Stringer came out the front door of his house on East McIntosh Road firing an assault rifle. One of the bullets passed through the car’s windshield, the head rest and then the cage before hitting Buice in the face. Two deputies positioned on the side of Stringer's house returned fire.
Stringer, 38, was shot dead at the scene.
Before the deputies arrived at the house, Stringer had been firing randomly at the road. A man driving a pickup past the house was injured by glass when a bullet hit a window. Another bullet hit a car driven by a woman but she was not wounded.
Ranieri said investigators don’t know why Stringer, who was unemployed and living off his disability benefits, started shooting. The deputies were dispatched around 4 or 4:30 p.m. Friday in response to a report that a man was attempting suicide.
Buice was at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta Saturday. Ranieri said Buice “came through surgery fine. He’s critical but he’s stable. I don’t think the bullet struck any vital organs.”
Buice rejoined the Spalding County Sheriff's Office a year ago. He is a 25-year law enforcement veteran and a former sheriff in Lamar County.