Domestic dispute leads to police standoff

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An Augusta man is behind bars after a standoff with deputies Monday morning, June 5. It happened at a home on New Milledgeville Road, near New McDuffie Road.

Deputies say it all started with a domestic dispute.

Milledgeville Road was closed for hours today as over 15 deputies tried to stop an already violent situation from becoming deadly.

What started as a domestic dispute quickly became a police standoff.

Tonya Sims did not want her face shown on television. She called 911 Monday morning after she says her boyfriend of 15 years, Johnny Lewis, punched her in the eye after an altercation about a set of keys.

"I was trying to work it out," Tonya says, "but I see that he got a real mental problem and he needs some serious help."

The couple's son Damien saw it happen. He says his father was heated from a separate altercation the night before.

"He had got in an argument with his sister, and every time he get in an argument with his sister, he comes and takes it out on my mom," Damien says. "So he took his anger out on her and fought her."

Tonya and her children were able to escape the home before officers arrived. Deputies say that when they got there, Lewis was holed up inside with a gun.

"He had handguns in the residence, it was told to us, he was threatening law enforcement and himself," says Lt. Scott Peebles of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

The SWAT team was called out and negotiators talked with Lewis for nearly two hours.

A peaceful surrender was eventually negotiated, and Lewis was arrested.

"I'm happy that he is going to jail, so that my momma can have some to for her face to swell, get better," Damien says.

Tonya says her boyfriend suffers from a mental disability...but after 15 years in an abusive relationship, she and her kids are moving out and moving on.

"Sometimes we don't take stuff like this serious, but we need to take this serious," she says.

Johnny Lee Lewis faces charges of domestic violence.

Right now, he is at Georgia Regional undergoing a mental evaluation.

No one was seriously hurt in the incident.