A man accused of shooting his estranged wife outside an Olive Garden in Jacksonville, then leading deputies on a chase, had his bond raised to $2.5 million in a court appearance Friday.
George Reynold Evans pleaded not guilty Friday morning to charges of attempted first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and two misdemeanor counts of violation of a domestic violence protective order.
George was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on those charges.
Jacksonville Police said George shot his estranged wife, Audry Evans, at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29 outside the Olive Garden on Western Boulevard. Family members said Audry worked at the restaurant.
Audry was treated at Onslow Memorial Hospital and released.
The day after the shooting, George led Columbus County law enforcement on a high-speed chase, investigators said. He later got out of the car and showed a weapon, prompting deputies to shoot him, investigators added.
George was charged after being released from the hospital. The SBI is investigating if the deputy-involved shooting was justified.
George and Audry were going through a divorce, according to family members. Court records showed that Audry took out a protective order against George, which he had violated in the past.
Stay with NewsChannel 12 for more updates on this case.
Family members tell NewsChannel 12 that the woman who was shot outside the Jacksonville Olive Garden has been checked out of the hospital, and is expected to be OK.
"She is a very, very, strong woman," says the woman's daughter, Melbvee Bullard.
Bullard remembers when she heard her mother, Audry Evans, was shot.
"Everything stopped, everything went to black, our worlds were shattered," Bullard said. "But there was still that hope, because we know the woman that she is and because we know the God that we served, there was hope, that peace, that it was still going to be alright."
Jacksonville Police say George Reynold Evans was responsible. Family members say he and Audry were going through a divorce. Court records show Audry had taken out a protective order against George, which he had violated in the past.
Police say the shooting happened around 11:30 Saturday night outside Olive Garden on Western Boulevard, where family members say Audry works. Police add that George left the scene in her car.
Audry was taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital.
"I've been by her side," said Meller Murphy, Audry's mother. "I've cried by her side. I prayed by her side. And everything will be all right."
Sunday afternoon, George Evans led Columbus County law enforcement on a high-speed chase. They say he got out of the car and showed a weapon. Officers fired, and hit him. State Bureau of Investigation officials are digging deeper into this particular shooting because deputies are involved. The district attorney will soon decide if the shooting was justified.
"Those kinds of situations can be avoided, but in the heat of the moment, emotions take over, and that's the result of it," said Bobby Bullard, Audry's son.
Bobby says he feels no hatred toward his mother's shooter.
"He's human just like anyone else," Bobby said. "I hate it that it happened, and I hate it that it turned out this way."
Police say George is in custody, recovering in the hospital ICU. Officials say they're waiting for George to improve to a condition where they can serve him with arrest warrants and present a number of charges, including attempted murder.
"We don't have to worry about nothing like this happening again," Bobby said.