STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (CBS46) – Hours after a standoff in Stockbridge ended with three bodies found inside a home, Henry County Police detailed the events that transpired over 17 hours.
Henry County Police Chief Mark Amerman said it all started with a 911 call and two officers going to a home in the Eagle Ridge subdivision in Stockbridge. After unsuccessful attempts to communicate with people inside, the officers, who were also on the SWAT team, went into the home with force.
At that point, shots were fired inside the home and both officers were struck. Chief Amerman identified the officers as Keegan Merritt and Taylor Webb. Merritt was shot in the hand while Webb was shot in the chest and hip.
Chief Amerman said as Officer Webb tried to escape the gunfire; he made his way to the garage. As Officer Webb laid in the garage, Amerman said he was right beside the body of a woman, later identified as Sandra Renee White, 39, of Stockbridge. Police said it appeared that White had been dead by the time the first shooting began. She was also nine month pregnant and the father was the alleged shooter, Anthony Bailey Jr.
As numerous other officers showed up at the scene, both injured officers were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Shortly after the initial shooting, SWAT teams arrived at the scene. Chief Amerman said from the time SWAT arrived at the scene, no shots were fired from the SWAT team or any other officers.
Amerman said multiple shots were fired by Bailey, Jr. at officers, SWAT officers, and others; but only two officers were hit.
Over the next 17 hours, hostage negotiators from multiple agencies worked to bring a peaceful resolution to the standoff, Amerman said. Police knew there was a 16-year-old in the home with Bailey, Jr. and he remained the focus for the entire standoff.
“Our main focus at that point was to try to do everything we possibly could to get the teenager out of the house,” Amerman said. “As we had negotiations, the negotiators talked long with the guy, as long as he was talking to us, that means he wasn’t doing other stuff.”
Amerman said his department continued to wait out Bailey, Jr. because they were “having very good dialogue.” Amerman noted that at no point did police have any direct contact with the teenager, but, “we had family members who said they had contact with him through text messages,” the chief said.
As the standoff continued through the night Thursday into Friday, negotiations began to break down and the gunman quit communicating with police. At that point, police fired tear gas into the home looking to bring the shooter and the teenager out of the home alive.
“We did deploy gas to try to get him out,” Amerman said. “Our concern was, we still had the 16-year-old in the home and we were worried about whether or not he was still alive. And that’s why we made the decision to go in.”
Around 3:45 a.m., after not hearing from the suspect after the tear gas was used; police sent the SWAT team into the home. Once inside, the SWAT team found Sandra White’s body along with the body of 16-year-old Arkeyvion White and Bailey, Jr.’s body.
“We worked extremely hard to bring this to a peaceful resolution,” Amerman said.
Henry County Police investigators remain at the home looking for clues as to what may have led to the shooting. Police said both Officer Webb and Merrett are still being treated at Grady Memorial Hospital and are doing well.