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Man shot by deputy inside Jackson County Courthouse released from hospital

Charges have not been filed.

Posted: Sep 26, 2019 3:55 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 3:49 PM

The man who was shot by a deputy inside the Jackson County Courthouse is now out of the hospital.

Investigators explained to WAAY 31 why they have not yet charged 72-year-old Fred Swearengin with any crimes.

"He still has some medical issues he has to deal with, and I don't think we want to put that on the taxpayers of Jackson County to take care of his doctors bills," Rocky Harnen, the chief deputy of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, said.

Deputies say Swearengin brought a gun into the courthouse last week, and a deputy shot him when Swearengin pulled the gun. It's illegal to carry weapons into Alabama courthouses.

All Jackson County deputies have been armed with body cams since that shooting. You'll start to notice these cams clipped on to deputies' uniforms. Right now, every single deputy in Jackson County has one, and the sheriff's office says it will help them in future calls.

Audrey Martin just moved to North Alabama. She says she was shocked when she heard about a shooting last week in the Jackson County Courthouse.

"It's unfortunate these days. It can happen in any town, large or small," she said. "You just always have to be careful."

Deputies inside the courthouse did not have body cameras during the shooting, but the sheriff's office says it was all caught on courthouse security cameras. The body cams will help hold everyone accountable when deputies are out in the field.

"It helps people to remember that they are being recorded, and they have a tendency to act a little more appropriate," Harnen said.

The cameras will also allow deputies to go back and review evidence during a call. Martin believes the cameras will hold the deputies to a higher standard.

"Having that extra visual is very helpful," she said.

She says it makes her feel better knowing deputies have those cameras on.

"I do feel safe. It's a very good community," she said.

The body cameras were funded by a state grant, which also helped pay for some tasers. The plan was in the works before the courthouse shooting happened.

Read more HERE and HERE

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