Standoff in county

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 26, 2002

An attempt to serve a federal warrant at a residence near Music City Road off the Gantt-Red Level Highway Monday evening led to a massive standoff with numerous law agencies involved and an apparent suspect holed up inside the residence.

According to Tim Hardage of the Covington County Sheriff's Department, at 6:14 p.m., the Covington County 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force requested assistance on a federal search warrant on the residence.

Apparently a shot had been fired from the residence and the Alabama Bureau of Investigations became involved.

Hardage said as of 10:30 p.m. that it was not apparent who had fired the shot or how many people were in the residence.

The Alabama State Troopers charged the scene there and the Covington County Sheriff's Department was called in to assist the effort.

Hardage said he could not confirm what the federal search warrant involved.

Residents were not allowed to enter the residential neighborhood near the scene during the standoff.

Residents of the neighborhood which were already inside of the area near the residence in question were being advised to depart the area, according to a witness at the scene.

Agencies assisting in the overall effort included the Gantt Police Department, the Red Level Police Department, the Andalusia Police Department, the Covington County Sheriff's Department, the Alabama State Troopers, the Covington County 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force, the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, including Hostage Negotiator Tommy Merritt, the United States Customs Service and the Andalusia Rescue Squad.

At press time, various law officials were still entering the scene and law officials present were expecting the standoff to possibly last for an extended period of time.

The Star-News will have a more detailed account of the story in Wednesday's edition.

Jeffery Biggs of the Star-News also contributed to this story