A retired Marine working as a code enforcement officer in Augusta, Georgia, was shot and killed last week while on the job, authorities said.
What are the details?
Charles “Chip” Case, 41, was reportedly ambushed and gunned down after posting a “condemned” sign on a house, evidently angering the man who lived there, WFXG-TV reported on Thursday.
The suspect, Smitty Oliver Melton, 65, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on charges of murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime, the Augusta Chronicle reported.
Here’s more from the report:
Case was not looking for Melton — he was only there to post a sign, which lets authorities know no one should be living there, [Augusta Planning and Development Director Rob] Sherman said.
“In this case, it was just routine,” he said. “If it seemed controversial or dangerous, they would call the sheriff’s office or the marshal’s office to go with them.”
After Case posted the sign, he went back to his truck. The shooter came from behind the truck to the driver’s side and fired, Sherman said.
Besides being condemned, Melton’s house is the target of foreclosure by the Richmond County tax commissioner for not paying property taxes for several years.
Melton, the alleged shooter, reportedly has an extremely lengthy arrest record, including 11 different mug shots from times he was arrested in Richmond County.
In the late 1990s, he was arrested twice on aggravated assault charges that never resulted in criminal sentencing, and then in 2012, he was arrested for possession of hydrocodone. Most of his other arrests were for traffic violations.
The death of Staff Sergeant Case, a 14-year Marine veteran, husband, and father of four, reportedly has the Augusta community reeling.
Case and his family moved back from California to Georgia, the state where he grew up, to be closer to relatives before he was tragically murdered.
“A selfless man, Chip enjoyed working on cars, working in the yard, and was extremely passionate about anything and everything he was a part of and most of all, being the best husband and father to his wife and children,” a sentence from his obituary reads.
During his tenure in the Marines, Case was deployed on overseas combat tours five times to Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
After his death, several Marines who served alongside Case reflected on his life, remembering him as an extremely caring and compassionate individual.
“He was the most caring and genuine person I have met, I will be eternally grateful for his guidance,” one fellow service member said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Case’s family. So far, $5,500 has been raised.