Multiple charges for armed man who held wife after being served with divorce papers, deputies say

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Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) — A Columbia County man is being hit with a multitude of charges after he was served with divorce papers that made him angry enough to hold his wife at gunpoint.

According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Gary Pettus is being charged with weapons possession, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, battery, and three counts of third degree cruelty to children.

Deputies were called to the Pettus residence on Sunday after a juvenile told them his parents were involved in a domestic incident.

Deputies arrived at the home and found a truck still running in the driveway and a man and a woman looking at them through a front room window.

The pair were identified as Gary and Priscilla Pettus, and deputies say they spotted through the window Priscilla crying and attempting to hold Gary’s arm.

That’s when deputies say they saw Gary holding a handgun, forcing them to command him to drop the weapon and come outside.

Gary, still holding the weapon, and Priscilla eventually left the home, deputies said, to be interviewed by the deputies.

Gary, who the report said smelled of alcohol, told the deputies that he had been served with divorce papers that called him an “adulterer,” which upset him. Gary then told deputies he had nothing to live for and that his wife was a liar. Deputies continued to tell him to drop the gun, but Gary said he believed the deputies did not want to help him.

“I have no intention to hurt you,” Gary reportedly said to the deputies. “I only want to hurt myself.”

Gary then reportedly put down the gun on a bench in the garage before he was detained by deputies.

Investigators then began to speak to Priscilla, who told them she had filed for divorce earlier that day and she did not know what was said in the papers. She only knew that her three sons came up to her that day yelling “dad’s here,” before she told them to go upstairs and stay put.

That’s when Priscilla said Gary stormed inside and told his sons to get in the truck, but Priscilla told them to stay inside. Gary pressed his children again to go to the truck and they began to comply, the report said.

According to deputies, Priscilla yelled at the kids to go to the neighbor’s house for help. It was at that point, Priscilla said to the deputies, Gary then pulled his handgun out of his holster, pulled the chamber back, and pointed the gun at her forehead.

Priscilla told deputies she yelled at her children to go get help while she screamed for help on her own.

Priscilla then said Gary told her, “I will kill you and then myself and the children [will] go to foster care.”

Priscilla said to deputies that she struggled with Gary as he tried to pull her upstairs by her hair, but she managed to get him to stop after she held on to a spindle in the stairway.

“If you move, I’ll kill you,” Gary reportedly told Priscilla.

It was at that moment, Priscilla said, deputies arrived at the scene.

“I messed up today,” Gary reportedly said to the deputies. “I know I did.”

This was not the first time deputies have been to the Pettus residence. The sheriff’s office says they responded to a similar incident involving the same gun back in July.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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