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Two injured in Tift County shooting

CHULA, Ga. -- Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough reported Monday that his deputies and the department's Criminal Investigations Division responded to a shooting on Saturday evening that left two people injured.

The shooting occurred at 1214 Zion Hope Road in Chula. Police say two people were shot and transported to a medical facility, where both remained Monday afternoon. One victim reportedly received a gunshot wound to the back, and the other was shot in the leg and hand.

Information given to investigators by witnesses indicates there had been an ongoing dispute over wages between a resident at the location and the suspect, Rodney Bruce Bennett, 58, who resides next door.

On Saturday, at about noon, Bennett filed a criminal trespass report in which he alleged that someone had driven across his yard, sa

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Rodney Bruce Bennett

ying in the report that one of the residents of 1214 Zion Hope Road was the offender. Investigators also learned from witnesses that Bennett had purchased a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition not long before the shooting.

Bennett is being held in the Tift County Jail on four counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. One count for aggravated assault each stems from the two people who were shot, and one count of aggravated assault stems from Bennett allegedly pointing the shotgun at the head of another person who was not shot, police said.

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Timothy Thompson

Bennett is also facing one count of burglary in the first degree in that he allegedly entered the residence at 1204 Zion Hope Road with the intent to commit a felony and fired the shotgun at another person who was not hit by the gunfire.

Investigators also learned that Bennett had purchased the shotgun used in the shooting from Timothy Thompson of 17 Chula/Brookfield Road in Chula. Thompson was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, police said.

Early Sunday morning, sheriff's investigators and deputies executed a search warrant at Thompson's residence, and investigators seized a total of 15 firearms and assorted ammunition during the search.

Thompson, 41, is being charged with 16 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. One count stems from the shotgun that he allegedly sold Bennett, and the other 15 is for possession of firearms recovered from his residence.