"FLOYD COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
*** Press Release ***
On November 17, 2009 at approximately 4:45 pm, Robert Timothy Spriggs, Jr. went to the residence of John Gregory Davis at 4565 Old Dalton Road. An altercation ensued in the front yard, and Spriggs, age 26, shot Davis, age 46, several times, fatally wounding him. Davis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Spriggs fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle and traveled to 127 East Clinton Drive, in attempt to locate his ex-girlfriend, the daughter of the victim. Spriggs forcefully entered the residence and shot the homeowner, Scott Sulsberger, age 32, seriously injuring him. The accused then fled on foot into a wooded area near the second scene.
Following several phone conversations with his father and law enforcement, Spriggs emerged from the woods and surrendered himself to officials who transported him to the Floyd County Police station for questioning. Spriggs was later booked into Floyd County Jail on the following charges: Murder, 2 counts Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Theft by Taking, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime, and Cruelty to Children."Two shootings in Floyd County on Tuesday rocked the local community, left one man dead, one injured and a third man charged with murder.
The first shooting occurred in the 4500 block of Old Dalton Road around 4:45 p.m. The second, related, shooting took place on East Clinton Drive off of Burnett Ferry Road.
One fatality has been confirmed, and Floyd County police detectives questioned the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Tim Spriggs, at the law enforcement center. He was booked on felony murder charges around 10 p.m.
Floyd County Deputy Coroner Ernie Studard identified the fatality as 46-year-old John Gregory Davis of 4565 Old Dalton Road.
Police and emergency crews responded to that location late Tuesday afternoon after reports that a man had been shot multiple times in the front yard of the residence there.
Floyd County police and Georgia State Patrol officers, as well as fire and rescue units, arrived on the scene to find Davis with several gunshot wounds.
Dispatchers from 911 reported that Spriggs, suspected of that shooting, was possibly heading toward a residence off Burnett Ferry Road. Rome police responded there about the same time that a call came into 911 from a female at 127 E. Clinton Drive.
Capt. Mark Wallace of the Floyd County Police Department said a “domestic issue” spilled over when Spriggs, the alleged gunman, went to that address around 5 p.m.
“He forced his way into the East Clinton address and got into an altercation with a male there. He then shot that male,” Wallace said.
The Rome-Floyd SWAT team, as well as police negotiators, were called to that location. It was unknown at the time if Spriggs was still in the house or had fled the residence.
Police later determined he had left the home, and EMTs were allowed to enter to tend to the man who was shot. Dr. Paul Brock later told the Rome News-Tribune he had operated on the injured survivor.
Also at the East Clinton Drive residence were two women and an infant, according to police. Wallace said the women and baby were not injured but were taken to the hospital for evaluation.
The Rome Police Department and Floyd County Police Department are co-investigating the shootings and thanked all the agencies on the scene, including RPD, FCPD, Georgia State Patrol and Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was a combined effort, and we needed it with this kind of crime,” Wallace said.
Floyd County Chief Deputy Tom Caldwell confirmed that Spriggs turned himself in to Floyd County police investigator Jeff Jones after Sheriff Tim Burkhalter talked to the fleeing man.
An obviously distraught Burkhalter was reeling Tuesday night from the long-distance negotiation where he talked to Spriggs via cell phone as the young man fled through the woods near the Hidden Valley subdivision off Burnett Ferry Road.
Spriggs was being pursued by local law enforcement in the wake of the two shootings.
Burkhalter is an old family friend of Spriggs and said he’s never in all of his 26 years of law enforcement had something hit so close to home.
“My primary concern was seeing this come to an end without him hurting himself or hurting a law enforcement officer,” said Burkhalter.
He said he has known Spriggs his whole life and described him as "a good kid who has never been in trouble.”
Spriggs is an Armuchee High graduate who served four years in the Air Force, which included deployment to Iraq. He later played football with the Shorter College Hawks.
Burkhalter said he knew Spriggs was “upset over an issue with his ex-girlfriend” after talking with him a couple of days ago.
The sheriff said Spriggs was troubled about a temporary protective order that had been issued against him.
On Tuesday, Burkhalter was in Savannah for a professional conference. When he got out of his sessions in late afternoon, he saw that he had several missed calls from Spriggs but no messages. Then he got a call from a family member who was concerned Spriggs might harm himself.
Just minutes later, the sheriff was notified of the shootings, Spriggs’ suspected involvement and the manhunt under way for him.
“I tried to call him a couple of times, and he finally answered his phone. He was running through the woods and said he was unarmed,” said Burkhalter. The sheriff was able to communicate with the SWAT team on site at the East Clinton Drive house, so that they could enter the house and handle the situation there that included the injured man.
“He was running the whole time he was talking to me. I was just trying to get him to stop and turn himself in,” said Burkhalter. “I was really worried he might try ‘suicide by cop.’ Even if he was unarmed, carrying a cell phone might look like he was armed. I told him that.”
He said Spriggs was adamant that he would only turn himself in to Burkhalter.
“I told him I was out of town and hours away, and this could not wait that long. I was worried someone else might die,” said Burkhalter.
So the sheriff contacted detective Jones and then talked to Spriggs and arranged for Jones to call him and handle his surrender.
Jones spoke with him, and Spriggs was taken into custody, without incident, ending a frantic several hours for local law enforcement agencies and a tragic night for the families.
Spriggs, of 4885 Old Dalton Road, is charged with felony murder, two counts of felony aggravated assault, felony burglary, felony theft by taking, felony possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and cruelty to children.
Staff Writers Jeff Gable and John Bailey and Editor Charlotte Atkins contributed to this report.Click here to see a previous report about Tim Spriggs.