Local News

February 19, 2014

Who was Ryan Shane Neale?

GBI continues investigation into Murray man who shot himself

Ryan Shane Neale’s heart beat inside him for the last time Saturday night, but a part of him continues to live on.

Authorities said the 38-year-old Murray County resident fatally shot himself during a traffic stop in a convenience store parking lot near Bagley Middle School, and those who knew Neale said his heart was donated.

“He was so full of life,” friend Ashley Byars said. “He was who he was, and he didn’t try to hide it.”

Greg Ramey, Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge, said it’s not clear yet why Neale apparently took his life after a Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy approached the stopped van Neale was riding in after seeing a tail light out. According to an incident report, the deputy spoke to the driver and noticed the van had several passengers. As the deputy and the backup he called for returned to the van, Neale put a gun to his chin and pulled the trigger, eventually dying from his wounds.

Exactly why did Neale, who friends described as a straightforward, fun-loving person that enjoyed riding four-wheelers and helping others work on their cars, shoot himself?

“Other than maybe not wanting to go to jail in Canton (because of a warrant for probation violation), I have no idea,” said Detective Tim Bell of the Murray County Sheriff’s Office. “Nobody really knows. Even his passengers were surprised. They didn’t even know he had a gun.”

While Bell said no sheriff’s officers fired shots, the GBI was called in to investigate as is standard practice whenever someone dies during a police encounter. Ramey said the investigation is still in its early stages, but it doesn’t appear any of the officers did anything to cause Neale’s death.

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