EATONTON, Ga. — A 28-year-old Eatonton man is recuperating in a Macon hospital after being shot late Tuesday in what local authorities are calling a home invasion at a residence on Lake Sinclair in Putnam County.
The homeowner and other occupants inside the residence were not injured, authorities said.
The suspect, who faces a litany of criminal charges, was identified as Hunter Layne Harrison, of Old Phoenix Road, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills.
Some of the charges Harrison is facing include home invasion, burglary in the first degree, three counts of felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and disorderly conduct.
Harrison, who was clutching a knife before he threw a barbell through the rear glass doors of the residence off Twin Bridges Road about midnight Tuesday, was shot once in the forearm, Sills said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect was treated at the scene by firefighters/first responders with Putnam County Rescue Services and personnel with the Putnam County Emergency Medical Services. He was taken by ambulance to The Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon.
Although Megan Allen, a hospital spokeswoman, indicated that Harrison’s name was not listed on the patient directory, Sills confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he was still hospitalized after undergoing surgery for the gunshot wound.
According to Sills, deputies with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office received three back-to-back calls concerning the suspect.
“We got the first call at 11:30 p.m. from a resident on Thomas Drive, which runs off Nature Road in the Lake Sinclair Twin Bridges area,” Sills said. “That caller stated there was a man in a tree in her yard with a knife hollowing.”
As deputies were en route to that call, a dispatcher received another telephone call from a residence next door, the sheriff said.
“That call pertained to a burglary in progress where somebody was actually breaking into the house,” Sills said.
A third 911 call came in from a man at that same residence saying that the intruder had been shot by the homeowner.
“Deputies arrived there within just a couple of minutes, and the guy who had been up in a tree in the next-door neighbor’s yard had gone next door and took a concrete paver-type stone from the yard and threw it through a locked glass door,” Sills said. “The residence had a glassed-in porch, and he apparently threw the paver through the door and went on inside the home.”
The homeowner apparently heard the noise and retrieved his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and went to find out what was going on.
Sills said the homeowner saw and heard the suspect screaming before the break-in and subsequent shooting.
“He (suspect) was demanding the homeowner let him inside the house,” Sills said.
The suspect was armed with a knife at the time, the sheriff added.
“The perpetrator then picked up a dumbbell — the guy had weights out on that glassed-in porch where he worked out — and the suspect picked up a dumbbell, weighing about 20 pounds, and threw it through the French glass doors with at least six to eight panes in it,” Sills said.
The suspect then ripped the woodwork away around the doors, he added.
The suspect then went toward the homeowner, who was standing with his gun, and who repeatedly told the suspect to get out of his home, Sills said.
When he refused, the homeowner, the son of an Indiana police officer, shot the suspect, Sills said.
After the shooting, the suspect, later identified as Harrison, fell to the floor and began thrashing about. By that time, deputies had arrived at the home.
“During that time, he (suspect) aggressively fought with deputies as they tried to get him subdued and handcuffed,” Sills said.
Harrison managed to get away from deputies in the kitchen and went out a back door.
Since the intruder was unfamiliar with his surroundings and the homeowner was replacing his deck just outside the kitchen door, the suspect fell about eight feet to the ground.
“He was then subdued again, began fighting with deputies and had to be restrained in every way possible before he was finally pepper-sprayed,” Sills said, noting that the suspect was placed in leg irons before being taken in an ambulance to the hospital in Macon.
Sills said he visited with the homeowner and his wife Wednesday morning and told them he was grateful they were not hurt in the home invasion.