By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Portal shooting suspect identified
GBI: Gunshot wound was self-inflicted
Bulloch County sheriff's and GBI personnel investigate a shooting near the Dollar General store in Portal on Thursday afternoon. Friday, the GBI identified the suspect as Joseph Goff, 28, and said the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the identity of a suspect who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday during a confrontation with law enforcement.

Joseph Goff, 28, shot himself under the chin during a foot chase near the Dollar General in Portal, according to a released statement Friday by GBI Region 5 Special Agent-in-Charge John Durden.

The GBI is handling the investigation due to the incident involving a Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputy, who has not yet been named.

Durden said the deputy reportedly fired a shot after Goff “brandished a firearm.”

A deputy ordered Goff to drop his weapon, but “Goff did not comply with those commands and pointed the weapon at the deputy.”

One deputy at the scene reportedly “fired his service weapon,” and “Goff fired one shot through his (own) chin, causing severe self-inflicted injuries.”

He was transported to Memorial Hospital in Savannah by Air Evac,  and remains in critical condition, Durden said.

No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.

The incident began when deputies received a call at Parkway Place Drive in Statesboro, where someone reported a domestic dispute and stolen vehicle.

Law enforcement officers discussing the call over police radio Thursday alleged Goff had taken the same car before, and it had been found in Twin City that time.

Portal Police Chief Jason Sapp, who had been notified deputies were seeking Goff, who was headed towards Portal, met Goff in the stolen car as he entered the small town on Hwy. 80 West. Sapp said he turned around to perform a traffic stop on Goff, but the car had disappeared. He discovered Goff had pulled into the Portal Crossings Mobile Home Park and ran across the road towards the Dollar General, he said.

Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies located Goff at the store in the parking lot, where the suspect had fled, Durden said.

It was then that deputies commanded him to drop the weapon, but instead Goff aimed it at a deputy. An unidentified deputy fired off a single shot, then Goff shot himself under the chin, he said.

“The GBI will continue its independent investigation,” he said. “When the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney for review.”

While law enforcement officers did handcuff Goff after he shot himself, according to reports overheard on the police scanner, Goff had not been booked into the Bulloch County Jail as of Friday afternoon. Charges against him are pending.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter