Standoff subject won't face charges - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Standoff subject won't face charges

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County Police say criminal charges will not be filed against the armed man who prompted a five hour standoff with Police and SWAT officers early Thursday morning.

Police convinced the man, who had been drinking, and was armed with a shotgun and pistol, to surrender peacefully.

Law enforcement officials worry the troubled economy will push more troubled people into similar incidents.

Police found 29-year-old John Hardwick, armed with a 12 gauge shotgun and 9-millimeter semi automatic pistol. His mother and niece were in a back bedroom, but Investigators say he never threatened anyone, but himself.

"But he was armed. Threatened to either kill himself or put himself in a position where the police had to shoot," Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek said.

The Albany Dougherty SWAT team was called in to surround the house. Hardwick's brother and police negotiators talked him into surrendering five hours later.

This is the second similar incident Albany SWAT has handled this month, facing an emotionally disturbed person armed with a gun, and they are concerned they will continue.

 "With everything going on with the economic situation, everybody's going through stressful situations. We have jobs being lost. Certainly we are seeing more of these situations," said SWAT Commander Captain Tim Hanington. 

Chief Don Cheek says agrees, economic stress often pushes people to violence.

"Unfortunately we will probably see people taking unusual behavior acts to work through a situation they don't know how to work through," Cheek said.

Hanington says SWAT is trained to handle situations like this peacefully. "We come in to save lives, not to take it. Lot of people have it backwards."

Hardwick remains hospitalized. Chief Cheek said they want to see his family get him mental help, not jail time.

The Albany Dougherty SWAT team, made up of 20 men and women from most of the Dougherty County law enforcement agencies, held a training session just the day before, dealing with a situation like this.

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