Valdosta Shooting Victim's Fiance Says Jealousy Is What Caused Dispute

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Updated By: Winnie Wright
Updated: April 2, 2014

Valdosta, GA - The caution tape has been cleared from the scene of Tuesday night's shooting, but there's still blood on the pavement where Valdosta Police say Hubert Heflin shot his neighbor, Samuel Sawyer, in the face.

"Mr. Sawyer was initially taken to South Georgia Medical Center where he was life flighted to a hospital in Macon, because of an injury to his eye, which he's probably going to lose', says Lt. Aaron Kirk, with VPD.

Sawyer's fiance says jealousy was what caused the shooting.

She says the argument broke out in front of a home on West Street. She says that things escalated really quickly when Heflin, the suspect, called her a bad name. She also says that Heflin has been trying to break up their relationship for years, which is what caused this ongoing neighborhood dispute.

Police initially charged Heflin with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, but after investigating the dispute, the 48 year old suspect is facing more serious charges.

"Mr. Heflin is going to be charged with Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, also Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime. The Aggravated Battery charge comes from the determination that the victim is going to lose an eye", says Kirk.

Lt. Kirk says Heflin will face a judge some time Wednesday. Mr. Sawyer is expected to make a full recovery.

News Release: Valdosta Police Department

Valdosta, GA -- On April 1, 2014 at approximately 7:34 pm, the Valdosta Police Department responded to the 500 block of West Street in reference to the report of someone being shot. Officers arrived and found the victim, Samuel Sawyer, with a single gunshot wound to the head. Sawyer was transported by EMS to the SGMC ER.

Officers located Hubert Heflin, who indicated that he had shot Sawyer. Officers detained Heflin and secured the area while detectives from the Valdosta Police Department and a Crime Scene Technician from the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory responded to investigate. According to witnesses in the area, there was an ongoing dispute throughout the day between Heflin and Sawyer.

After the initial investigation was completed, Helfin was taken to the Lowndes County Jail and will be charged with Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Sawyer is expected to recover from his injuries.

Anyone having any further information regarding this crime or any other crime is urged to contact the Valdosta Police Department at 229-293-3145 or can remain anonymous at 229-293-3091.

By Winnie Wright
April 1, 2014

Valdosta, GA - Residents of a Valdosta neighborhood say all they heard was one shot. And that's all it took to land one man in the hospital and another man behind bars.

"Just after 7:30pm, we got a call about a shooting here at the 500 block of West Street. Officers arrived. They found the victim had been shot one time", says Lt. Aaron Kirk, with VPD.

The victim and suspect both told authorities that shots were fired over some sort of neighborhood dispute. The suspect has a felony record and could be facing multiple charges.

"The suspect, Hubert Heflin was taken in to custody. At this time he is going to be charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, until investigators can talk to him. He potentially will be charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, once the investigation is completed", says Kirk.

VPD says they are not releasing the name of the victim until family members have been identified, but he's expected to make a full recovery.

VPD says the suspect may have been acting in self defense. He told police the victim charged him. Both men say alcohol was involved.

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