Man compromises after 3-hour standoff

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

A more than three-hour standoff between a suicidal man and law enforcement ended peacefully in Gantt Thursday.

Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks said Friday the day’s events began at approximately 3:15 p.m. at a residence on Gantt’s Hubb Road when deputies responded to a call for a welfare check.

“We received a call to check on an individual who had expressed ideas of hurting himself,” Meeks said. “When we arrived at the residence, deputies and Gantt police received information he had several guns in his residence.”

Meeks said at that point, Alabama Board of Pardon and Paroles officer Jamey Whismer and CCSO investigator Wesley Snodgrass were called in to act as crisis negotiators.

“A phone call was made to the residence to open a line of communication,” Meeks said. “After several hours of negotiations, the individual came out to talk with negotiators and was taken into custody without incident.”

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Meeks credited the positive outcome to the “cool, calm and professional manner” in which the situation was handled.

“We hear all the time how situations like this don’t end with a positive outcome,” he said. “In this situation, (Whismer and Snodgrass) didn’t rush the situation. They established a good repertoire with the individual and allowed their cool, calm and professional manner to prevail in a situation that could have ended much differently.”

Meeks said the two law enforcement officers completed an FBI course in hostage and crisis negotiations less than a month ago.

The Covington County IRT Team, Gantt Police, Covington County Sheriff’s Posse, the state Board of Pardons and Parole, Alabama ABC Board, Covington County Sheriff’s Reserve and Advanced EMS assisted in the incident.