Police: Man shoots at utility crews restoring power - CBS46 News

Police: Man shoots at utility crews restoring power

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Power crews trying to restore service had to run for cover when bullets started flying over their heads on Christmas night.

The Hall County Sheriff's Department called in a SWAT team to negotiate with the man to get him out of his Holland Drive home.

Donald Deal, 62, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, and he's sitting in a jail cell without bond. 

"Jackson EMC power crews were in the area trying to restore power after a tree fell on the lines," said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks of the Hall County Sheriff's Department.

Storms brought down power lines at Deal's home, and cops say he shouted obscenities and fired his weapon twice at utility crews trying to do their job.

"They're called out in the middle of the night, the conditions last night were pretty bad it was pretty cold," said Wilbanks. "These guys were trying to get the power restored, doing a good thing, doing a good job, and then they were assaulted like this."

First responders worried Deal's alleged actions mirrored the scene in a New York state neighborhood where an agitated man opened fire, shooting four firemen and killing two in an ambush style attack. Investigators determined Deal did not ambush the utility workers, they say he was highly intoxicated the night of the alleged incident.

"One of the big things on everybody's minds in this case is the firemen who were ambushed in New York," said Wilbanks. "This situation - where it's an ambush for more first responders, things of that nature, so we had to take extra precautions in that regard."

A SWAT team responded to Deal's Gainesville home where negotiations lasted late into the night. Investigators said Deal voluntarily surrendered around 2 a.m.

Deal's first appearance in front of a judge could be as soon as Thursday afternoon.      

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