Deputy Sheriff J.D. Paugh
J.D. was raised in Augusta, Georgia specifically, in South Augusta on Franklin St. along with his parents and three brothers. He attended Wheeless Rd. Elementary School, Murphey Junior High School and T.W. Josey High School. J.D. spent many of his summers in West Virginia and Maryland where his parents had lived previously. As a child, he attended St. Albans Episcopal Church. J.D. graduated from high school and worked with his father and brothers in a contracting business which required him to travel to many states up and down the east coast. He married his then wife Stacy and had a son and stepson, all of whom he loved dearly. J.D. always wanted to become a police officer and 17 years ago he applied for a deputy position with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. J.D. was hired and proudly served as a member of the Sheriff’s Office for 17 years. He was a road patrol deputy for a number of years and was eventually assigned to the Motorcycle Unit under the Traffic Division. That was to become the pride of his professional career.
On a personal note, J.D. had a passion for cooking and entertaining; this was not limited to his home, he would include his fellow officers. He loved to entertain and had a Georgia-Florida Game party scheduled prior to his death. Although he denied it, we all knew he enjoyed his resemblance to Burt Reynolds. J.D. was a motorcycle enthusiast. As a result of his special duty assignments, he became friends with and loved by the Augusta Biker community. J.D. helped start a bike night at Crazy Turk’s Bar and Grill. Approximately 200 “bikers” attended J.D.’s funeral as well as the Patriot Guard.
On October 23, 2011 around 1 A.M, Dep. J.D. Paugh left an off-duty special assignment on his motor and was going home when he saw a car in the grass-clover leaf of I-520 at the US 78 westbound on ramp. Dep. Paugh, although off-duty, stopped to investigate the car. As he pulled up on his motorcycle, J.D. immediately started taking fire from the suspect, whom was armed with an M-4 assault rifle. J.D. dismounted his motor leaving it on its side and returned fire. J.D. was able to fire two rounds before his gun was disabled by a round from the suspect. J.D. shot the suspect one time before being fatally wounded himself. The suspect took his own life. What J.D. was not aware of at the time, is that the 911 dispatchers were receiving calls in reference to shots being fired. No calls had been dispatched because the calls had just started coming in. The suspect was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend who was able to escape when the suspect’s attention turned to J.D. The suspect had also been shooting at passing cars.
Our brother, J.D. Paugh was senselessly murdered October 23rd, 2011. As sad as we are, this loss was not in vain. As a result of J.D.’s efforts, the girlfriend’s life was saved as well as possibly others had he not intervened. To paraphrase a quote I read after J.D.’s death: Families rest securely at night because a few rough men and women place themselves between those families and evil.
J.D., we love and miss you but will never forget you and your sacrifice. Rest well brother!