Buchannon's charges include burglary, murder, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of possession of a firearm or knife while trying to commit crimes, theft by taking, and kidnapping.
Buchannon has been released from Erlanger and is now being held at the Gordon County Jail, according to Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris.
The July 29 night fatal shooting in Hill City “stemmed from a domestic violence situation,” according to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, and it was not the alleged gunman’s first brush with domestic abuse.
The suspect, Paul A. Buchannon, 39, had been arrested for domestic violence in the past, Ralston said Friday.
There are new details regarding the Hill City shooting incident in the Aug. 11 print edition of the Calhoun Times, which is available on newsstands now.
Buchannon’s rampage through Gordon County resulted in the death of Christy Ann McKnight, 40, and gunshot injuries to McKnight’s son, Dustin Lee Henderson, 19, and her nephew, Cody Shawn Adams, 17.
It ended when officers cornered and shot Buchannon at Hill City Baptist Church around 10 p.m. Thursday night.
The two teenagers were transported to local hospitals Thursday night, one with a gunshot wound in the back, and one with a shot to his leg.
Buchannon faces charges of murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and firearms violations.
It was unclear whether domestic violence previously factored into McKnight’s interactions with Buchannon, who was living in the Royal Inn on Ga. 53 in Calhoun, Ralston said.
Buchannon allegedly shot the two teenagers at McKnight’s residence on Highway 41 near Craigtown Road and then forced McKnight into a 1990s model black Camaro. He drove her to a remote location in the northern part of the county, marched her along a railroad track and eventually shot her in the back of the neck, according to the sheriff.
According to a sheriff’s office report: officers responded to the house on U.S. 41 around 6 p.m. They tracked Buchannon through witness reports and found the car next to a railroad track in the Hill City community near the Whitfield County line by “pinging” the missing woman's cell phone signal. When they found the vehicle it was not occupied and authorities began searching the area.
McKnight’s body was soon found on the railroad track several hundred yards north of Hill City.
The sheriff said Friday that he could not confirm reports that McKnight was shot as a train was passing.
“The Gordon County Sheriffs Office summoned assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Whitfield County Sheriffs Office, the Dalton Police, the Walker County Sheriffs Office, and the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) K9 Unit to help with the manhunt,” according to Ralston. “A helicopter from the Georgia Aviation Authority was dispatched to help the officers. Dozens of heavily armed peace officers from the various agencies formed a perimeter about the area where Buchannon had last been seen with the woman, and search teams began combing the area.”
Officers responded to reports of a break-in at Hill City Baptist Church shortly after dark following an hours-long manhunt, he said.
Buchannon was located in the woods near the church with the use of a bloodhound around 9:50 p.m.; a Whitfield County Department of Corrections officer shot him after Buchannon brandished a pistol.
No officers were injured. Buchannon was flown by helicopter to Erlanger.
The handgun recovered from Buchannan is believed to be the same gun involved in the shooting of the three victims earlier, the sheriff stated.
“I want to stress how important it was to have (the other law enforcement officers) there … it’s good to know that you have other officers to help out,” Ralston said. “It went as good as it could possibly have went.”
“You do have someone that’s lost their life, and it’s very sad,” he said. “It’s one of those things in law enforcement that we deal with.”