Waveland Man Threatens To Shoot Police - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/31/03

Waveland Man Threatens To Shoot Police

Waveland officers got a reminder of just how dangerous police work can be when they had to run for cover as a gunman threatened their lives. The standoff started on Hillcrest Street in the wee hours of Sunday morning. A man carrying two weapons, one of which was a high powered rifle with a scope, warned he'd shoot police and others.

When the standoff was over, 34-year-old Eric Johnson was under arrest. Johnson is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and disturbing the peace. His bond is $100,500.

It came in 3:30 a.m. as a loud music complaint, but minutes later Waveland police discovered there was much more going on Hillcrest Street.

Chief James Varnell said, "The man met them out in the yard in with a shotgun. Officers took cover. The guy, the suspect, he was threatening to shoot people, threatening to shoot the police officers and acting real crazy."

Police stood outside as the suspect Eric Johnson went back into his house. They got a hold of Johnson's cell phone number, but he wasn't in the mood for conversation.

"He said he didn't want to talk about it anymore tonight that he was going to sleep and that he'd talk to us in the morning," said Varnell.

In the coming hours Chief Varnell says his thoughts took him back to May of 1998 and the similarities between this standoff and the domestic disturbance call Long Beach police officers James Northcutt and Steve Morgan responded to five years ago.

Varnell said, "The Long Beach incident where two Long Beach detectives where killed due to a subject at a house with a high powered rifle. It's just a terrible feeling to know the possibilities that could happen."

Seven hours after it started, officers decided to make a move. Inside the house, they found Johnson passed out. As he was arrested, police say he offered an explanation for his behavior.

"He said evidently, he must have been drunk and was acting crazy," said Varnell.

Police say no one was injured during the standoff and no shots were fired.

by Danielle Thomas

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