What originally was a report of a suicide attempt Saturday turned into a potentially deadly standoff that endangered dozens of area officers and residents of a normally quiet neighborhood.
In the end, Ryan Messer, 26, was wounded by a shotgun blast as he stood on top of his home. He is in Liberty County Regional Jail facing numerous charges. He was denied bond in magistrate court after a hearing Monday.
The standoff started just before 3 p.m., when Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy Shane Brazier was dispatched to a home on Woody Court in Flemington, according to his report.
Upon arrival, Brazier and Hinesville Police Patrolman Christopher Goldston met two women, who asked the officers to not show their guns to Messer, who was in the backyard. While talking, the officers heard a man’s voice behind a privacy fence. Brazier asked Messer to come out so they could talk. Using profanity, Messer allegedly told the officer, “I ain’t got nothing to say to you.”
Not able to see Messer, Brazier asked him what he had in his hand. Messer reportedly raised his hand above the fence, showing a pistol.
During the encounter Messer climbed onto the roof and Brazier called for backup.
Brazier took cover while trying to defuse the situation, asking Messer to come down. Messer allegedly talked about shooting officers while pointing the handgun in their direction.
His responses reportedly included: “What are you going to do, shoot me?”
Meanwhile, LCSO Capt. Orrin Nestor and other officers warned neighbors and blocked area streets while hostage negotiator Capt. Chuck Woodall tried to get Messer to surrender.
At one point, Messer left the roof, went inside and closed the front door and garage. He returned to the roof brandishing another pistol. While on the roof, Messer is alleged to have told Brazier, that his bullet would go right through the vehicle Brazier was using for cover.
As Messer went below the roofline and out of the deputies’ site, Brazier ran to his patrol car and moved it for better cover for himself and Det. Jim Chapman who had arrived.
Messer reportedly went back inside, and was carrying an assault-type rifle and wearing body armor when he climbed back onto the roof.
Brazier said Messer pointed a pistol at him. So Brazier fired his shotgun, while Chapman fired his firearm.
Messer fell on the roof and dropped both weapons. A video shot by neighbor Kenneth Wells shows Messer screaming and standing up again while police, aiming their weapons, ordered him to lay down. An officer can be seen climbing onto the roof and apprehending Messer who suffered a gunshot wound to his right arm and hand.
Messer was taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center and then on to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where he was treated and released to authorities.
He has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault and three counts of use of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Saturday, LCSO Chief Deputy Jon Long said he had been told Messer had earlier had a fight with his girlfriend. On Tuesday, Long said both Bazier and Chapman have been placed on leave as a routine measure while the GBI investigates the shooting.
The standoff off lasted about an hour and a half. Georgia State Patrol troopers also responded.