McCall man killed in standoff

Published 1:18 am Wednesday, October 2, 2002

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
A man accused of shooting at passing vehicles from his home was shot by law enforcement officials after a 14-hour standoff that ended Tuesday morning.
James Thompson, 83, of 765 Whispering Pine Road in the community of McCall was shot and killed by a single shot fired by an Alabama Department of Public Safety SWAT team member. The shot was fired at approximately 4:15 a.m. when Thompson allegedly ran out of his house firing four shots toward law enforcement officials. He exited the house after officials fired two cans of tear gas into the house at 30-minute intervals.
The shooting of the suspect ended a standoff that lasted almost 14 hours. Deputies, as well as Thompson's younger brother, Byrl Thompson, attempted to talk the armed man out of the house. Byrl was in the house through the initial hours of the standoff.
Deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office were the first to arrive on the scene.
Within minutes of the call, deputies, along with agents from the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force, were on the scene. According to Murphy, the suspect fired several shots toward deputies when they arrived.
Murphy said deputies make repeated attempts to get Thompson to drop his weapon. That process continued for about one hour with Thompson, at times, allegedly pointing his weapon at deputies.
After several attempts to capture the suspect ended unsuccessfully, the ADPS SWAT team was called to the scene.
Thompson's brother, Byrl, was contacted inside the house and convinced by officials to leave the residence after he could not talk James into surrendering.
Through the night, negotiators with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) tried to talk Thompson out of the house, according to a press release issued by ECSO officials. Close range surveillance equipment was used to monitor movement within the residence.
When negotiations failed, members of the SWAT team attempted to enter the residence at 12:45 a.m. Two teams of agents entered through the two doors going into the house. However, both groups were forced to retreat as Thompson allegedly shot at them.
After the attempt to enter, officials gave Thompson time to surrender.
At 3:30 a.m., the first shot of tear gas was shot into the residence. A second tear gas was fired in at 4 a.m.
Fifteen minutes later, Thompson allegedly exited the house firing his weapon.
In the early hours of the standoff, an arrest warrant for shooting into an occupied vehicle was issued. The incident was reported by a driver who alleged that his car was damaged by Thompson.
Murphy said the incident was a dangerous one for all involved.
Among the agencies responding to the scene were: the sheriff's office, Brewton Police Department, Drug Task Force agents, ABI, State Trooper patrol and SWAT and the Flomaton Fire Department.
ABI will continue an investigation of the incident.
State Trooper's Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Williams said the investigation will include the final shooting of Thompson.