Blairsville man behind bars for Young Harris shooting
By Charles Duncan

North Georgia News

Young Harris – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton and his deputies apprehended a man accused of assaulting a friend of his estranged wife with a sawed-off shotgun and defused a potentially life-threatening situation.

According to the Towns County Sheriff’s Office accounts, Larry Franklin Thomas, 53, of 144 Fairview Trail in Blairsville, violated a protective order and entered the home of his estranged wife and their three children in Young Harris.

Thomas, who is being held in the Towns County Detention Center, faces 10 charges, Towns County Magistrate Court warrants show.

Thomas is charged with two counts aggravated assault, possession of a 20-gauge sawed off shotgun, with the barrel being shorter than 18 inches, possession of a 20-gauge sawed off shotgun during the commission of a felony, burglary, three counts third-degree cruelty to children, aggravated stalking, possession of a firearm by a felon convicted of aggravated assault, magistrate court warrants show.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight Monday, Towns County sheriff’s reports show.

Arrest warrants show that Thomas, a convicted felon, broke into the home at 367 Opal Road with the intent of committing a felony.

Once inside the home, Thomas shot the male victim in the face with the sawed off 20-gauge, arrest warrants show. Thomas then threatened his estranged wife with the sawed off 20-gauge, taking her and the couple’s three children, ages 12, 14, and 16 years of age hostage, according to arrest warrants and sheriff’s reports.

A physical altercation then took place between the two men. Duri ng the altercation, the three children escaped through a bedroom window and their mother fled through the door. The mother and her children arrived at a neighbor's residence and called 911, sheriff’s reports show.
The gunshot victim also escaped from Thomas and fled to the neighbor’s residence, sheriff’s reports show.

Sheriff Clinton secured the neighbor’s residence to prevent Thomas from reaching the family he seemed intent on harming. Deputies secured a perimeter and two K-9 teams were dispatched to locate Thomas, who had fled on foot after not being able to return to his sister's vehicle parked at a vacant residence, which was secured by deputies.
The victims, while traumatized by the event, did not appear to have any life-threatening injuries. Once the scene was secure, Sheriff Clinton, assisted by deputies who formed a perimeter, were able to get the victim out of the area and transport the gunshot victim to emergency personnel, who waited at another location free of harms way. They helped the mother and her children retrieve articles of clothing from their home after it was secured and safely escorted them from the area.

The shooting victim was treated and later released from a local hospital, sheriff’s reports show.
Deputies were posted at the residence of the neighbor, as well as at the hospital to prevent Thomas from causing any further harm to the family. Afterwards, Thomas was located in the wood line behind the vacant residence, where he had parked his sister's car, and was taken into custody without incident.
Sheriff Clinton said t he investigation is ongoing and further details will made available later.