3 people killed, 2 officers hurt in standoff at Georgia home
ATLANTA (AP) — A standoff that began when two Georgia police officers were shot and wounded has ended with a 16-year-old boy and his pregnant mother both killed by a gunman who then killed himself, authorities said.
The two officers were responding to a domestic disturbance Thursday morning when they came under fire by the gunman, who then barricaded himself inside the house. A standoff ensued for the next 15 hours as police pleaded with the gunman to release the teenage boy from the home in Stockbridge, south of Atlanta.
Dramatic video from police body cameras shows a chaotic scene, as officers are ambushed almost immediately after they break down the door of the home.
“I got a hostage!” the gunman yells at one point, his voice captured in a body camera that was dropped inside the home. He warns officers not to come near him — and that he has plenty of ammunition.
The video also shows one of the officers being wounded and dragging his rifle across the front lawn to safety.
Police were initially hopeful, saying a negotiator was speaking with the gunman, identified by police on Friday as Anthony Tony Bailey Jr., 47, of Atlanta.
“With communication with the individual, at least he’s talking — that’s helpful,” Henry County police Capt. Joey Smith had said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. “We’re going to wait as long as we can.”
However, by late Thursday night, the gunman was refusing to surrender and would not “provide proof of the well-being” of the teenager and the woman inside. So commanders made the decision to deploy gas inside the home, police said.
“The suspect fired numerous rounds at SWAT officers and vehicles,” police said in an update on social media late Thursday.
Finally, in the pre-dawn hours Friday, police forced their way into the home and found three bodies.
Smith identified the victims as 16-year-old Arkeyvion White and his mother, Sandra White, more than eight months pregnant.
“We was getting ready to give her a baby shower tomorrow,” Sandra White’s mother, Kathie White, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.
Arkeyvion and Bailey were found dead in an upstairs bedroom; and Sandra White was found in the garage, Smith said.
Sandra White was a nurse at WellStar Health System who had been working to get more training through Georgia Southern University, her sister, Anetria White, told reporters.
Anetria White also said Arkeyvion played football at nearby Dutchtown High School.
In an interview with WAGA-TV , Anetria White said she was the one who called 911 when she went to the home and saw blood. The 911 call and the account of blood on the garage floor is what initially prompted officers to be dispatched to check on the residents, authorities have said.
Anetria White broke down in tears as she described seeing blood and then enduring hours of anguish and worry, “and then you find out that all three of them were gone,” she said.
The officers were hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Both were expected to survive, Smith said Thursday. One of them was struck in the hand and the other in the torso and hip area.
“I think the less injured officer was able to aid the other and get him out of the house,” Smith said.
Henry County has endured multiple shootings of police officers in the past two years.
In December, Henry County Officer Michael Smith was shot at a dentist’s office and died of his wounds about three weeks later. Employees at the dentist’s office had called police about a man who had been acting erratically and Smith was shot as he confronted the man.
In February 2018, Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox, 26, was shot in the head and killed in the Henry County town he patrolled. Two Henry County sheriff’s deputies were also wounded in that shooting as the three law enforcement officers tried to serve an arrest warrant at a home.