Gunman talked down by FPD Saturday

Published 7:46 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

If things had gone wrong in Franklinton, the man with the gun, holed up in a home, could have shot someone.

He could have shot Major Justin Brown, who was in the house with him, or he could have killed himself. He could have shot his girlfriend. But thanks to quick work by the Franklinton Police Department, nobody was injured during the Saturday incident.

Earlier that evening, at about 7:30 p.m., Franklinton police got a call that the man, who was not arrested, is not accused of any crime and is not being named, was holding his girlfriend hostage inside a home on Coleman Street. The caller, the sister of the woman inside the home, said the man inside had a gun.

Sergeant Brandon Manning and Corporal James Pugh responded and, when they got to the home, they began talking to the man. He said nobody was hostage and that the girlfriend could leave anytime she wanted. She wasn’t leaving though. She feared that if she did, her boyfriend would kill himself.

“The dispatcher then called me,” Brown said. “And I drove to the location and I was briefed by the officers about what they had going on. I made entry into the residence I was able to negotiate with the suspect in the case and was able to convince him to give the weapon to the girlfriend and she gave the weapon to me.”

Brown said it was a tense, scary situation.

“Well, if any police officer ever tells you that you don’t get scared, they’re lying to you,” he said. “But it’s part of the job and it’s part of the things law enforcement officers face each and every day. If someone’s life is hanging in the balance than you do what you need to do to save that life.”

In the end, Brown said, he just needed to remind the man with the gun that his life meant something.

“Whenever you’re talking to someone, and they’re in a situation like that, and they’re inclined to cause harm to themselves, you have to treat them like a person,” he said. “You let them know their life is worth it and … that their family is the one who’re going to have to live with it ultimately.”

In the end, Brown said he had to convince the man that whatever pain he was suffering on Saturday might not be so unbearable Sunday.

“You have to give them hope and show them that today is just temporary,” he said.

In the end, while police didn’t charge the man, Brown said he was placed in a psychiatric hold. Under state law, anyone may be held for mental health evaluation if they are a threat to themselves or others, and while Brown said the man didn’t pose a threat to his girlfriend, he was a threat to himself.

Brown said he wanted to congratulate the first officers on the scene.

“I’d like to commend the officers who arrived on the scene. They acted bravely,” he said.