Armed standoff in Hahira; tear gas fired

Hahira Police Department photo

Story updated at 3:45 p.m. Friday

HAHIRA — A man is recovering in a Tallahassee, Fla., hospital after an armed standoff in Hahira that was broken up with tear gas Thursday night, according to authorities.

The standoff was at Jordan Apartments in the 100 block of North Church Street, starting between 6:30-6:45 p.m., police said. Officers were attempting to serve an outstanding bench warrant from Hahira’s Municipal Court on Leo Nesmith, 73, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation statement. Nesmith was scheduled to be evicted next week, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.

According to Hahira Police Cpl. Todd Pitchford, the man shot a flare gun at officers. “A flare gun at close range can be deadly,” Paulk said.

An officer attempted to shoot the man with a taser, Pitchford said.

He then threatened officers with a crossbow, Hahira Police Lt. Shannon Kingston said. Officers then called for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Response Team, the GBI statement said.

Tear gas was fired into the home, Paulk said. “In the last round, we tossed in seven canisters, and he was throwing some of them back.”

When officers moved in, he pointed a loaded crossbow at deputies, the GBI statement said. “Those things can penetrate a (bulletproof) vest,” Paulk said.

The man was shot in the shoulder and jaw with a single round by a sheriff’s department special operations officer, Paulk said, and was being put into an ambulance at 9 p.m. He was later transferred to a hospital in Tallahassee, he said.

Paulk said the suspect was both former military and law enforcement. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is being brought in “as we do with all officer-involved shootings.”

Pitchford confirmed all officers are safe. 

Responding agencies were the Hahira Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and the Hahira Fire Department, Pitchford said. 

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HAHIRA — A man is recovering in a Tallahassee hospital after an armed standoff in Hahira that was broken up with tear gas Thursday night, according to authorities.

The standoff was at Jordan Apartments in the 100 block of North Church Street, starting between 6:30-6:45 p.m., police said. Officers were attempting to serve misdemeanor warrants on the suspect, who was scheduled to be evicted next week, said Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk.

According to Hahira Police Cpl. Todd Pitchford, the man shot a flare gun at officers. "A flare gun at close range can be deadly," Paulk said.

An officer attempted to shoot the man with a taser, Pitchford said.

The man then threatened officers with a crossbow, Hahira Police Lt. Shannon Kingston said.

Tear gas was fired into the home, Paulk said. "In the last round, we tossed in seven canisters, and he was throwing some of them back."

When officers moved in, the man had a loaded crossbow, the sheriff said. "Those things can penetrate a (bulletproof) vest," Paulk said.

The suspect was shot in the shoulder and jaw with a single round by a sheriff's department special operations officer, Paulk said, and was being put into an ambulance at 9 p.m. The suspect was later transferred to a hospital in Tallahassee, he said.

Paulk said the suspect was both former military and law enforcement. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is being brought in "as we do with all officer-involved shootings."

Pitchford confirmed all officers are safe. 

Responding agencies were the Hahira Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol and the Hahira Fire Department, Pitchford said. 

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