Police confirm 3 people dead after standoff in South GA with former police lieutenant

Police confirm 3 people dead after standoff in South GA with former police lieutenant
(Source: CBS47/Action News JAX)
(Source: CBS47/Action News JAX)
(Source: CBS47/Action News JAX)
(Source: CBS47/Action News JAX)

BRUNSWICK, GA (WTOC) - The Glynn County Police Department has confirmed three people are dead after a standoff involving a suspended officer.

Officials say the standoff involved the police department's former lieutenant Robert Sasser at his home off U.S. 341 in Hunter's Point in Brunswick Thursday night.

This deadly incident involves multiple scenes, including one in Glynn County and another in McIntosh County.

The McIntosh County Sheriff's Office received a call about shots fired at Tolomoto Island at about 9 p.m. According to reports, a DNR official saw a vehicle fleeing the scene. The DNR official did not recognize Sasser as the driver. Sasser gave a decoy story to the DNR ranger about shots being fired and sped off.

McIntosh County officials found a man and woman deceased on Tolomoto from a shooting. They have been identified as 39-year-old Johnny Hall and 34-year-old Katie Kettles Sasser. Evidence shows the male victim also fired a gun at Sasser.

Officers spotted Sasser at Hwy 251 and US 17 in McIntosh County. A low-speed pursuit started. The Darrien Police Department, Glynn County PD, and the Glynn County Sheriff's Office joined. The pursuit ended at a home that is owned by Sasser.

After hours of a standoff and calling in a SWAT team, officers found Sasser dead in his car. The only shots fired by law enforcement were reportedly gas bombs into the car.

"As many police officers and so on were here; SWAT team, everything," said neighbor, Rufus Hawkins. "Everyone was here. I've never seen anything like that before."

Officers said they could see Sasser inside his truck and tried to get him to come out. Neighbors watched as this went on for hours without any luck.

"Firing canisters and rubber pellets at the truck trying to get someone to either come out or to determine whether he was alive," said neighbor, Dan Furtado.

Eventually, they realized Sasser was dead inside the truck. Neighbors say they were concerned when they saw him driving by earlier this week, knowing his court bond order barred him from the county.

"They ordered him out of town, and I saw him here Tuesday. I was out in my garden working and he passed by Tuesday," Furtado said.

He was allowed in town Tuesday for court.

"But as soon as court was over, he was to leave as soon as possible," said Neal Jump, Glynn County Sheriff.

The court order also prevented Sasser from having any sort of firearm. How he got his hands on a gun is still a big question in this case.

"We will get it resolved. All the issues, all the questions will be answered hopefully," said Glynn County Police Chief, John Powell. "We will continue to work together and identify all the circumstances that surrounded this incident."

Back in May, Sasser was suspended after Chief Powell was made aware of a domestic dispute he was involved in. After reviewing body camera footage of the incident, the chief agreed the incident should be referred to judicial review. A judge then issued two warrants for Sasser's arrest, including simple battery and criminal trespass. Sasser eventually turned himself in and was placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation into his arrest.

We've reached out to the district attorney's office for more answers to these questions. We have not heard back. They did, however, send a statement saying they're looking into whether Sasser violated his bond requirements prior to his death Thursday night.

WTOC will continue to update this story throughout the day as more details become available.

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