PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. -- A man who was locked in a dramatic standoff with deputies for nearly five hours after they say he shot three people in his next-door neighbors' house, killing one of them, is now dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Residents in the area near Pine Valley Drive and GA Hwy 92 were evacuated late Tuesday afternoon as the man, now identified as William Arnett, fired a gun first at his neighbors, then at responding deputies. None of those deputies was injured.
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Officials at the scene said Arnett shot three people at 65 Pine Valley Drive around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday and was still firing his gun while a 911 caller was on the line with police.
Officials still aren't sure what caused Arnett to start shooting in the first place, but said he has had encounters with law enforcement before, even making threats against them. Investigators said the three victims were moving to another house, and were moving their belongings out of their home at 65 Pine Valley Drive when they were shot.
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Officials said Arnett was armed with an AR-15 and a handgun. Deputies said they tried to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution, but after Arnett continued to fire at deputies, it made the situation even more tense.
"It was definitely a dangerous situation," said Deputy Donny Pace with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office. "In any situation where somebody is firing at neighbors and also shooting at law enforcement it is dangerous. Our immediate concern was to try to remove the victims from the house so that we could treat them for their injuries."
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After SWAT officers were able to pull the victims out of the home, they then turned their attention to Arnett, who was on his property at 55 Pine Valley Drive. Officials tried to make contact with him before entering his house, but he was found dead in the back of his residence from a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"It's just a sad situation," Pace said. "I wish it would have ended differently. I wish it could have had a peaceful resolution."
Investigators worked into the overnight hours of Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, at the house where the three people were shot, and at Arnett's house next door. They allowed residents back inside their homes just before 11:00 p.m.
The Paulding County Sheriff's Office received assistance from Cobb County, Douglas County and the Georgia State Patrol.