MCLB employee receives mental tests - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MCLB employee receives mental tests

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December 5, 2007

Dougherty County -- The man who held the Albany SWAT team at bay for four hours Tuesday at the Marine Base remains hospitalized Wednesday night. The base civilian employee will continue to receive mental and physical evaluations for at least two more days.

Then he will appear before a Federal Judge to find out if he'll be charged with a crime.

This is the Auto Hobby Shop on the Marine Corps Logistics Base, where a 59 year old civilian employee was found with a small gauge shotgun Tuesday morning by co-workers, threatening suicide. They left the man alone in this garage area.

Albany SWAT and Police Tactical units were called to assist the Base Police, to try to get the man to come out.  Albany Police Lt. Catherine Gervin said "he had a lot of personal problems. It appears he was suffering from some form of depression."

 SWAT Officers set up in woods behind the Auto Hobby Shop, where the armed man could not see the large Police Presence. Meanwhile more than one hundred children at the bases' Child Development Center, less than 500 yards away, was evacuated.

Police negotiators started to talk to the employee on the phone. Lt. Gervin said "we just allowed him to realize things were not as bad as he thought they were, and to give him a way out."

Police say the man never threatened anyone else, or fired a shot. Family, friends, and co-workers also talked to the armed employee, trying to help him. Officials say this was a very unusual experience at the Albany base. Naval Criminal Investigative Service Senior Resident Agent W. Murray Strait said "this is small town Albany. We have an older workforce here. We still have a fairly large contingent of Marines. But everybody knows everybody, that type thing."

About 3:15, the man finally came out of the building. He was taken by ambulance to Phoebe Putney Hospital, where Doctors are evaluating him. The negotiators said it was a very happy ending to a tense situation. Albany Police Captain Ernest Williams said "when I was able to walk over to the wife, the daughter, and the son, and show them that all was well. And that we had resolved it in a peaceful manner."

 Albany Police, SWAT,and Marine Base Law enforcement are arranging a meeting to go over their response to this emergency to be better prepared if there is another emergency.

M-C-L-B workers are allowed to have a gun on base with permission. Investigators won't say if the man involved in Tuesday's standoff had that permission.

Every car that comes on base must pass through a checkpoint where base Police Officers are stationed. The officers check cars at random, but most employees drive through without a check if they have a sticker provided by the base.

People who work or live there can have guns if they are registered with the Base police. N.C.I.S. Senior Agent W. Murray Strait said "You can small game hunt here. So it's not uncommon for someone to bring a shotgun to the base for squirrel, dove, or quail, that kind of thing."  

Base officials say with thousands of employees on the Marine Base, it would not be possible to check every car that enters.

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