DOBSON — An inquiry by the State Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that a Surry County deputy was not at fault in the fatal shooting of a man in late April.
Senior Officer Michael Hohl was placed on administrative leave after the April 23 incident at a home on 441 Creed Road in the Ararat community where James Ransom, 55, was brandishing an assault rifle.
Officers had been dispatched to the residence after a call for a welfare check at that location was received from a Veterans Affairs hospital and a 911 call from Ransom threatening suicide, according to previous reports.
Deputies, including Hohl, encountered Ransom outside and he refused Hohl’s commands to drop the assault rifle. Instead, the man — who reportedly had a history of being antagonistic toward law enforcement — advanced toward Hohl, leading to the officer opening fire.
The SBI probe revealed that Hohl, a Surry County Sheriff’s Office member with more than 10 years of experience, acted properly.
“We also did our own investigation,” Sheriff Graham Atkinson said of his department’s previously reported finding that Hohl was not at fault.
“It’s a terribly tragic situation — we feel for the family of (Ransom),” Atkinson added Tuesday.
“But the officer was in a situation where he had no other alternative and he acted properly.”
Hohl recently returned to active duty, the sheriff said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.