WALTON COUNTY, Ga. - It was a potential suicide by cop which could have gone very bad.
When Lt. Mark Hess, with the Walton County Sheriff Office, arrived at the home of Robert Bradley Monday night around 9:30 he was told to leave.
“Who needs to leave? What for?” Lt. Hess said to Bradley when he arrived at the scene.
The domestic violence call quickly escalated when Bradley pulled a weapon out of his SUV.
On dash cam video, Lt. Hess and Bradley have a tense standoff.
Hess: “Put it down, put it down!”
Bradley: “Shoot me. Shoot me, shoot me!”
Hess: “Put it down!”
Hess: “Put the gun down!”
Lt. Hess spoke to FOX 5 News Thursday about the incident.
“It became plainly obvious after a few seconds what he was wanting,” said Lt. Hess. “Suicide by cop at that point in time.”
Lt. Hess said he was trying to avoid bloodshed. He said he didn’t shoot because he saw Bradley was holding the .40 caliber rifle with one hand in the air, adding that he considered pulling the trigger when Bradley pointed the weapon at the ground.
“I’d say that transition was the only time that I truly felt like that would have been an instant where that would have occurred,” said Lt. Hess.
Instead, he took Bradley down the moment the 40-year-old inadvertently dropped the rifle.
The Walton County Sheriff's Office’s internal review showed Lt. Hess acted with restraint in a potentially deadly situation.
“Deadly force could have been used in this case. We’re just fortunate Lt Hess answered this call,” said Chief Deputy Keith Brooks.
A SWAT team member with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Hess is also a father. He allowed his 10-year-old son Tristan, who wants to be a cop to view the video.
“If he get into a profession like this there is dangers in it and there's people like this that I have to deal with on a daily basis,” said Lt. Hess.
Bradley was taken to the hospital after he complained of a broken jaw from a punch from Lt. Hess which helped subdue him. The lieutenant said Bradly had a cut lip.
Bradley was charged with criminal trespass, assault and other charges and released on bond.