Shelby resident shoots intruder – Three Georgia prison escapees still on loose

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Shelby man shot a Georgia fugitive in the face as he came home to find a group of escaped inmates burglarizing his home.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting in the Shelby community early Monday morning.

At about 7:08 a.m., deputies responded to an Emergency-911 call from a convenience store located at the intersection of county highways 47 and 71.

The call indicated that someone suffering from a gunshot wound was at the store.

According to information from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, a sheriff’s deputy responded to the convenience store and found a male subject lying on the floor suffering from a gunshot wound to the left side of the face. A customer and store employee were administering medical aid.

Southeast Shelby Rescue arrived, along with RPS ambulance, and continued medical treatment. Lifesaver helicopter arrived and transported the victim to University Hospital in Birmingham.

According to sheriff’s reports, the 911 call coincided with a call about a burglary in process in the 100 block of Higgins Road.

The burglary occurred a short distance from the store. Suspects from the burglary matched descriptions of the vehicle and three men who dropped the gunshot victim off at the store.

Initially, sheriff’s deputies could not identify the wounded fugitive.

&uot;The information we now have is that this young man was brought to the store and let out by three other persons driving a white Jeep Cherokee with a Shelby County license tag.

&uot;At the almost identical time that this call came in to 911, another call was received reporting a burglary in progress in the 100 block of Higgins Road, which is a short distance from this store. The suspects in the burglary left in a white Jeep,&uot;

Curry said in an initial statement, indicating the victim had no identification.

&uot;His injury is very serious and it is important that contact be made with family as soon as possible,&uot; Curry said.

On Higgins Road, the owner of the residence encountered several people inside when he came up on the porch, sheriff’s reports stated.

Four men left the home quickly as the homeowner fired several shots from a handgun. One of the shots struck the gunshot victim who was later left at the convenience store. Descriptions of the vehicle from the home burglary match the vehicle that dropped the man off at the store.

On Tuesday morning, District Attorney Robby Owens said deputies worked throughout the night pursuing leads on the three fugitives that remained at-large.

The name of the homeowner who shot the fugitive will not be released as long as the others remain at-large.

At presstime, Tracy O. Mullins, 30, who was serving at least three years in a Georgia state prison for firearms possession and other offenses, was in the intensive care unit at UAB Hospital.

The three remaining fugitives were also Georgia state inmates and included: Joshua J. Thompson, 19, who was serving an 18-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter; Joseph M. Lee Jr., 21, who was serving at least 12 years for armed robbery and other offenses; and Micah D. Sheer, 22, who was serving 17 years for aggravated assault and burglary.

The homeowner will not face criminal charges, Owens said.

He described the situation at the Shelby home as a home-invasion and robbery attempt. The homeowner found several men inside of his home and some outside. He said the white Jeep Cherokee was parked around the back of the home.

&uot;He became suspicious and decided he better protect himself,&uot; Owens said.

Curry defended the homeowner’s actions.

&uot;The owner of the property found himself in a dangerous and difficult situation, outnumbered four-to-one while trying to protect himself and his property from this group whose intentions were unknown. He fired several shots from a handgun in an attempt to stop the suspects,&uot; Curry said