Resident feels situation handled poorly

Published 1:37 am Wednesday, October 9, 2002

By Staff
To the editor:
This letter is in regard to the incident that occurred on Whispering Pine Road the evening of Sept. 30 and early morning, Oct. 1.
It is not my intent to offend or be critical of anyone. I have been a neighbor and known Jamie, Burl and William Thompson for over 30 years as well as being acquainted with all of the Joe Thompson family. There are no people more peaceful, humble and easy to get along with in this community.
I know very little about the incident that led up to the situation that occurred that evening. I know what I have read in the paper, what I have been told and what I have seen first-hand.
What I am writing is how I feel about the incident as a citizen of the community. I feel that undue force was used in the killing of Jamie Thompson. He was not a notorious murderer or a habitual criminal. I feel that the incident could have been handled differently.
It is true that Jamie had violated the law. He had taken refuge in his own home, was alone armed with a double barrel shotgun and small shot. This was not a hostage situation. The public was not in danger, the roads to and from the home were blocked and guarded. The law officers had all kinds of sophisticated surveillance equipment with which they could watch his every move inside the house. These officers were not in danger as long as they stayed concealed and out of range of the shotgun. Time was on their side.
So what was the rush? Why did the law officers rush the house at 12:30 a.m. provoking Jamie to shoot at them, endangering their own lives? Why did the law officers fire tear gas into the home when time was on the officer's side?
I personally feel that with patience, common sense and a little more time, this particular incident could have been avoided, sparing the loss of Jamie Thompson's life to a sniper's bullet.
I feel that in due time, Jamie would have given up. I hope that this incident will be investigated, the facts presented and possibly that law enforcement policy could be altered to better evaluate situations such as this that occurred on Whispering Pine Road.
George A. Ward

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