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‘Just an upstanding guy’: Friends mourn slain code enforcement officer

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 11:37 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Charles Case was just out on his job when he was shot and killed Thursday morning.

65-year-old Smitty Melton was arrested in Aiken County this evening after a nearly nine-hour manhunt. He is charged with murder and possession of a firearm.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Melton allegedly shot Case at a home on 13th Avenue in Augusta.

County records show there were unpaid taxes at the property, and the tax commissioner filed a case against Melton back in December.

We spoke to people who knew Case and found out how dangerous the job can be.

“As we’re going out and knocking on doors, you don’t know who’s going to answer that door,” said Keith Colquitt, Georgia Association of Code Enforcement president.

Code Enforcer Charles "Chip" Case didn't know who would be on the other side of the door, or what it would lead to.

“I couldn’t believe, number one, that a code enforcer would have to run the risk of being murdered in broad daylight, just in cold blood,” said Kim Patteson, a family friend.

Patteson says before all this, Chip was looking out for the kids in his own neighborhood, even hosting a yearly “Friendsgiving” event.

“Their kids would invite all their friends, so it was nothing for them to have 20 or 30 teenagers at their home,” she said.

Charles "Chip" Case
Charles "Chip" Case(WRDW)

And as for Chip ...

“He was just an upstanding guy. I mean, he was a veteran, he loved his family, he loved his kids, he loved his animals,” Patteson said.

And Colquitt does his best to train code enforcement officers, who can find themselves in dangerous situations.

“It’s always good to follow those instincts. Unfortunately, there’s times that it’s too late for that instinct to kick in,” he said.

Code enforcement officers like Case must manage things like unpaid taxes, run-down homes, and unsafe buildings. And investigators are still trying to figure what led to the shooting.

“The world is definitely never going to be the same without somebody like Chip,” Patteson said. “He’s going to be missed, he’s going to be sorely missed.”

Since Melton was arrested in Aiken County, he will have to be extradited to Richmond County.

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