No indictments issued in fatal shooting
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
A grand jury decided not to hand down any indictments against law enforcement officers that were involved in a shooting that left an 83-year-old dead in October 2002.
Escambia County District Attorney Mike Godwin presented information about the incident to the grand jury. He has said that all shooting incidents involving law enforcement are presented to the grand jury as a routine practice.
James Thompson, of 765 Whispering Pine Road in McCall, was shot in the chest after a 14-hour standoff with law enforcement officials at his home. The standoff began on Sept. 30 when the Escambia County Sheriff's Office received reports of Thompson shooting at passing vehicles along Whispering Pine from his yard.
When law enforcement officials arrived they found Thompson in his yard with a rifle and he went into the house.
Deputies called in the Alabama Department of Public Safety tactical team after Thompson locked himself in his house and would not respond to repeated requests to exit the house and give himself up.
At one point during the standoff, officials attempted to enter the home through the front and back. Those efforts were unsuccessful as they were forced to retreat as Thompson began firing at them.
In the early morning hours, two cans of tear gas were fired into the house at 30-minute intervals. Thompson allegedly exited the house and shot at law enforcement officials on the scene.
Both local and state law enforcement officials have said that a member of the SWAT team was acting in self defense when he fired and shot Thompson in the chest, which resulted in his death.
James' brother, William Thompson who resides in the area said after the shooting that he felt the situation could have been handled without the death of his brother.
William Thompson said he was disappointed that only law enforcement officials were allowed to speak during the grand jury hearing. He added that he was allowing his attorney to handle the matter from this point.