Shooting investigation continues
Published 2:40 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
The investigation into the shooting of an 83-year-old man by a member of the Alabama Department of Public Safety's SWAT team at the end of a standoff on Oct. 1 continues this week.
James Thompson, of 765 Whispering Pine Road in the community of McCall, was shot and killed by a single shot fired by a SWAT member. The shot came after 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.
Investigators with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation are gathering data that will ultimately go to Escambia County District Attorney Mike Godwin.
Officials with the both of these investigating offices said that the matter was still under investigation and that no new information was available at this time.
According to officials with the district attorney's office, it is a matter of routine procedure to allow homicidal deaths such as shootings and vehicular deaths to go to the grand jury.
The current grand jury will be dispersed on Friday with the next one scheduled to go into session in late January. Depending on the length of the investigation, the Thompson case could be heard at that time.
Some residents and family members are questioning the authorities' use of force in the case, citing that Thompson was 83-years-old and on medication.
But officials with the ADPS said proper protocol was followed in the shooting.
Thompson was shot after a 14-hour standoff with authorities. ECSO deputies were the first to respond to the scene after they received calls of Thompson shooting at passing vehicles. There are reports that he shot and damaged one passing vehicle.
When deputies arrived, Thompson was seen in the yard with a 12-gauge shotgun. When the deputies could not get Thompson to surrender his weapon and turn himself in, the ADPS SWAT team was called in.