Three deputies cleared to return for work after fatal shooting with man who was threatening mass shooting

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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Three deputies involved in the shooting of a man who was threatening a mass shooting of his own have been cleared to return for duty.

According to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the three deputies are able to come back to work after being placed on administrative leave with pay following the incident.

In her report to the sheriff's office, District Attorney Natalie Paine concluded that the trio were "lawfully carrying out their official duties" in the incident that left Ronald Audette dead.

Audette, according to the sheriff's office, allegedly made a disturbing comment claiming he had planned a mass shooting.

The deputies attempted to reason with Audette, 61, on the phone before he left his home with a firearm in his hand.

Investigators say Audette was not complying with the deputies' demands for him to drop the weapon before he raised it, causing the deputies to open fire.

"Ronald Audette's actions establish that your deputies were justified in believing that their own live and the lives of other individuals present were in jeopardy," Paine wrote.

Paine has also closed the case in her office.

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