MAYFIELD - Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said this morning that 51-year-old James Russell set his 912 County Highway 123 house and garage on fire before slitting his own throat Sunday evening in an apparent suicide attempt.
Officers responded to the residence after several 911 calls from neighbors reporting seeing the house on fire and a distraught Russell.
"The neighbors went to help him out. He pulled out a knife and set his garage on fire," Lorey said.
James Russell is accused of setting fire to his house on County Highway 123, seen in this photo taken today.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
When the officers did arrive, Russell's actions remained threatening despite officers' attempts to reason with him, Lorey said.
"[The officers] tried to talk to him initially," Lorey said. "One of the officers was forced to use his Taser on him. He was threatening the officers with the knife. During the struggle, he managed to cut his own throat."
Lorey said it is unclear what the cause of the incident was, but he said Russell's son had recently been arrested in connection with a string of burglaries in the area, and Russell was worried that he could be implicated.
Russell, who remained in Albany Medical Center this morning, will be charged with two counts of third-degree arson, a felony, when he is released from the hospital. Lorey said that could take place later today.
John Borgolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.