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‘I tried to help him’: Neighbor recalls moments leading up to shooting where Carroll County deputy killed man

Robert Bruce Clendenin died later at a hospital, the GBI said.

CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — A 76-year-old man was shot and killed by a Carroll County deputy Wednesday night when he pointed his handgun at deputies, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. 

It happened outside a home in the 100 block of Bar J Road near Temple, Georgia, just off of U.S. Highway 78. The GBI identified the man who died as Robert Bruce Clendenin.

The GBI said in a news release Wednesday night that deputies responded at about 5 p.m. to a dispute between neighbors. The agency said one neighbor (possibly referring to Clendenin) pointed a handgun at the other and fired it during the argument. 

Clendenin was in his yard outside his home. The GBI said that when deputies arrived there, and Clendenin refused their commands to drop the handgun, he pointed it at deputies, and that's when one of the deputies shot Clendenin.

11Alive spoke with Chris Akin, who lives next door to Clendenin, and he said he has known Clendenin for 30 years. Akin said he witnessed the entire incident.

Akin said that Clendenin had not been in any sort of dispute with him or anyone else in the neighborhood.

He said Clendenin had been distraught for some time over his disabilities, including no longer being able to walk. He was using a motorized wheelchair. 

Akin said Clendenin lived with his wife, Pat. He said he'd been visiting their home, talking with him, trying to comfort him and support him. He had last visited Clendenin, he said, on Tuesday.

Then, Akin said, late Wednesday afternoon he and his wife heard a gunshot. 

"Well, we was in the backyard and heard the gunshot and him fussing," Akin said. "So, we go over there and he's sitting out in the front yard in his little hover-round thing there, with a pistol. So, then the police came and they tried to get him to put it down, and he wasn't comprehending, and he pointed at them, and they did what I guess they had to do."

A deputy shot Clendenin, and Clendenin was taken to a hospital where he died, the GBI said. No deputies were hurt in the confrontation.

Akin said Clendenin’s wife was not harmed, and as far as he could see she was never in any danger. 

Akin said Clendenin at one point had pointed the gun at him, too, and that he tried to talk Clendenin down as deputies were arriving.

“He’d have good days and bad days,” Akin said. “I hate it. They were great neighbors,” and he said he is heartbroken.

The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office will do an autopsy on Clendenin and the agency will conduct an independent investigation into the shooting. The case will then be handed to the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.

The GBI said this is the 22nd law enforcement shooting it has been asked to investigate this year.

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