A burglary suspect who police say shot at officers and threatened to kill himself was wounded and captured by a SWAT team after a three-hour Sandy Springs standoff ended in gunfire May 31.
At times holding a gun to his head, the unidentified male suspect spent hours sitting outside an animal hospital as police negotiators spoke with him. Finally, a SWAT team launched a “flash bang” concussion grenade at him and fired a burst of gunshots that wounded him. It was unclear whether the suspect also fired his gun, police spokesperson Sgt. Sam Worsham said.
Police could not say how many times the suspect was shot, but Worsham said the wounds appear not to be life-threatening. The suspect could be seen conscious and sitting up as he was taken away on a stretcher to a local hospital.
The unidentified male was one of three suspects in a burglary around 1:55 p.m. at the new Modera apartments at 6125 Roswell Road. Sandy Springs Police say he fired a handgun at officers, hitting none, before they were able to “corner” him behind a Dunkin’ Donuts at Roswell Road and Sandy Springs Place.
The suspect then sat in the parking lot of the Animal Emergency Center of Sandy Springs at 228 Sandy Springs Place, his back against the building’s wall and a black handgun pointed under his chin.
The animal hospital is a small facility in a house-like building on a narrow street. The suspect sat about 35 feet from the street and about 150 feet from Roswell Road – part of the reason the police feared stray gunfire. The animal hospital only operates during nights and weekends and was not open during the incident, a representative said. The animal hospital was expected to open late that same night.
Police sealed off the area, barring traffic and pedestrians as they feared a possible shootout. Occupants of nearby buildings, including the Square One apartments and the Northside Tower – headquarters of the Reporter Newspapers – were ordered to remain inside and away from windows as the situation grew more serious.
Worsham said that police negotiators attempted to bring a “peaceful” end to the situation, including having family members talk with the suspect. Worsham did not provide a specific reason for why the police believed negotiations were not working and chose to fire the grenade and firearms.
The grenade caused a boom that echoed around the area, accompanied by a sound like breaking glass. A rapid burst of several gunshots quickly followed.
The other two burglary suspects were captured and are in custody, police say.
–John Ruch and Dyana Bagby