Police: Man opens fire in Spring Hill neighborhood, claims he was shooting rats

Crime Tracker

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Frightening moments for a Spring Hill community early Wednesday morning as gunfire erupted and bullets struck fences, garages, and possibly other structures in the area.

It happened around 1:40 a.m. when numerous people called 911 of shots fired at a home on the 4000 block of Port Royal Road.

When officers arrived, they immediately heard a series of four shots fired in rapid succession. Spring Hill officers Jason Zolnierz and Sergeant Sam Barnes quickly moved towards the house of 57-year-old George Hodges.

Officer Zolnierz yelled to Sgt. Barnes, telling him that he saw a man with a rifle moving around. The two officers entered the garage with weapons extended. Music blared and Sgt. Barnes turned it off while yelling for the man inside to surrender and put his weapons down.

Once inside, officers took Hodges into custody, describing his speech as slurred and his actions as odd.

Officers found the home filthy and in disarray. The walls were covered in spray paint that said ‘Peace’ and things like ‘You picked a bad day 2 F with me.’

At first, Hodges told police he had no weapons and was on their side. After he was handcuffed, he asked to borrow an officer’s AR-15. He said he was shooting at rodents in his backyard because ‘rats are bad.’ He told the officers he would not lie to them and that he has no marijuana or cocaine in his house.

Hodges continued to talk, even though the officers told him to be quiet. When the officers tell Hodges he had been drinking, he snapped at them, and told them that he had not.

Then, Hodges told one of the officers that he has been eating donuts.

“I see sugar on your lips,” Hodges said.

When the officers asked him about the shooting, he said he knew his rights and told them to “go to hell.” At one point, he told an officer to get close so he could kick him and then he jokingly said, “Taze me. Taze me, Bro.”

At one point he tells an officer to get close so he can kick him and he jokingly says, “Taze Me. Taze me Bro.”

As the investigation continued, Hodges said, “Spring Hill Pigs are the worst pigs ever.”

Meanwhile, officers investigated the fence line and found multiple shell casings and holes in the fence.

Lt. Justin Whitwell credited the arriving officers for going into a dangerous call, where there were shots fired and multiple unknowns and the officers quickly neutralized the threat.

“It’s our job. and that is what we want, to serve our community in that capacity. We don’t want people to be in harm’s way,” said Lt. Whitwell.

Before being arrested, Hodges told officers, “If I made a bad decision, let me suffer the consequences.”

Hodges is charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment, public intoxication, vandalism, assault on an officer, and unlawful possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

“He’s obviously unstable,” a neighbor who doesn’t want to be identified said after 16 bullets struck her fence. She says five bullets put holes in her garage which is detached from her home.

The woman with 2 young daughters said, “Absolutely terrifying. He was shooting 20 feet from my daughter’s bedroom.”

Mike Sweet lives two doors down from Hodges. Sweet said his mother has dementia and heard the gunfire thinking someone was at the door and told him to go outside. He said that he is glad Spring Hill Police calmed the situation when they did.

“Well, I am glad he is taken care of because I am the type of person who might take things into his own hands. And that ain’t the right thing to do,” said Sweet.

“This guy was shooting randomly in his back yard. He didn’t know where his rounds were going nor did he care where his rounds were going. He thought he was shooting at rodents,” added Lt. Justin Whitwell.

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