An off-duty Liberty County deputy sheriff, who was working security at a Walthourville night club, shot and killed a suspect early Sunday after repeatedly ordering him to drop his gun, according to an incident report.
The suspect, Nathaniel Pruitt, 24, of Walthourville reportedly was firing the weapon, and one of the bullets struck Michael Fluker, 31.
According to the initial report filed by Walthourville Police Lt. Wade Long, he responded to a call of an officer needing backup at Bo Maz. Shots had been fired outside the night club in the 4000 block of Highway 84 shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.
Long found a group of people around a wounded man, who was lying on the ground in the parking lot. Earlier in the evening, the wounded man, who has been identified as Pruitt by Liberty County Coroner Reginald Pierce, was involved in a fight inside the club and was asked to leave, according to the incident report. Pruitt apparently went to get a handgun from a vehicle and headed back to the club. But as Pruitt walked across the parking lot he began firing the weapon, striking Fluker in the upper leg.
In an interview Monday afternoon, Walthourville Police Chief Tracy McFadden said Pruitt was told to drop his weapon by the deputy when he confronted him.
Authorities have not identified the deputy. The incident, however, states that a “deputy Perry fired his duty weapon to stop the threat.” Parts of the report that apparently list the deputy’s first name have been censored.
The chief said the deputy had worked as a security guard for the club several times.
Pruitt was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, where he was later pronounced dead.
His mother said she was stunned and questioned how it happened.
“Right now, I’m just feeling in shock,” Shereese Pruitt told reporters. “I don’t know why it had to happen. It feels like a bad dream.”
In a telephone interview Monday, Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Statesboro Special Agent in Charge Cathy Sapp wouldn’t say how many shots were fired at Pruitt.
“We are waiting for the autopsy to be completed before we release that information,” she said.
Fluker, who has been identified as a U.S. Army employee, was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center and later to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah where he underwent surgery. His condition is unknown.
Sapp said the deputy, who was acting as a law enforcement officer at the time of the shooting, has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. She said that is routine. The GBI will turn its findings over to the district attorney, who will decide how the case is handled.
Pruitt moved to the Walthourville area from Miami several years ago with his family, according to the coroner.