COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Richard Hagler knew Richie F. Dodelin on a personal and professional level. Hagler told News Leader Nine he is friends with Dodelin's father, a fellow attorney, and when he heard what happened, he was drawn to the scene of Tuesday's manhunt.
"I do criminal defense. That work is my specialty. So, I see bad things all the time, but it just comes home when it is someone that has been a colleague and so out of character. I had hoped very much to be able to avoid the results we had yesterday afternoon."
The results - Dodelin killing himself with a shotgun. When Hagler arrived at the house off Hubbard Road in Columbus, it was too late. Dodelin had run into the woods. Police said it was too dangerous for Hagler to enter.
I would have told him "he was not alone. That there was hope and a future still left in spite of this horrible mistake he made. That he would be better off and the world would be better off with him still here, not gone," explained Hagler.
Police searched the woods near Whitesville Road for seven hours and say officers were moving in as the suspect shot himself.
Hagler said, "It is almost a shock, a slap in the face, because there is somebody that no matter what you think, it does not cross your mind that somebody you know in the profession would go off the deep end this badly, for lack of a better word."
Hagler said the Dodelin family is trying to move forward. "It is not something anybody anticipated would happen. And, they are trying to deal with the grief and pick up the pieces."