LaGrange police: ‘Mental break’ caused man to open fire behind Walmart; no one hurt

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 29, 2015

By Melanie Ruberti

LaGRANGE — An allegedly mentally altered man could face charges after opening fire behind Walmart on New Franklin Road Saturday morning. No one was hurt.

Officers with LaGrange Police Department responded to a call of shots fired at the store shortly before 9 a.m. and were told someone had fired several shots at the loading docks behind the store.

LPD Sgt. William Nelson said officers checked the area and found evidence of gunfire but could not locate a suspect.

Investigators reviewed store video that showed a partially clothed man running from a wood line behind the building and firing shots in various directions, Nelson stated.

The video also revealed the man was picked up from behind the store by someone driving a dark sedan, which left the area, according to a report.

Nelson said a short time later the Troup County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 100 block of Glenda Drive in LaGrange, a short distance away from Walmart, in reference to a person possibly shot inside a vehicle.

After arriving, they determined that no one had been shot, but, Nelson said, the car appeared to be the same one from the Walmart video.

Nelson said investigators were able to determine the man at Glenda Drive, identified as Michael Fitzpatrick, 25, of Old Airport Road, was the same man observed in the video at Walmart firing shots.

According to Nelson, investigators observed Fitzpatrick suffering from some type of mental break, and he was unable to give coherent details about what happened. He allegedly told detectives he was shooting because he believed he was being chased. Investigators said there was no evidence Fitzpatrick was being chased on the store video.

Nelson said Fitzpatrick appeared to be suffering a mental break associated with the use of illegal drugs from the night before. He was taken to West Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

LPD investigators said they have identified the people who drove Fitzpatrick from Walmart to the Glenda Drive location and will be speaking with them about the incident.

Anyone with any details that could assist in the investigation was asked to call the LaGrange Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Section at 706- 883-2620 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000. Messages also may be sent to LPD through its Facebook page under “lagrangepolicedept” or text tips anonymously to 888-777.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.