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Standoff in Ashford ends in suspect's death - Dothan Eagle: News

Standoff in Ashford ends in suspect's death

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Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 1:03 pm

ASHFORD -- A nearly five-hour standoff between authorities and an Ashford man ended in the man’s death late Monday afternoon.

A Houston County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed 39-year-old Michael Clayton McNeil, who was wanted on a third-degree domestic violence charge stemming from an incident Sunday night. McNeil was shot at his home on Whitaker Road late Monday afternoon.

Sheriff’s Capt. Antonio Gonzalez said the incident began with a wellness check Monday morning, after family members became concerned with McNeil’s wellbeing.

The domestic violence warrant became official and deputies attempted to serve it around 11 a.m., at which time things deteriorated.

Sheriff Andy Hughes said McNeil, upon hearing about the warrant, ran inside his trailer and “threatened to kill deputies.”

“We pulled back, set up a perimeter, contacted our tactical team, got them in place and began negotiations with this individual,” Hughes said.

Gonzalez said the Sunday night incident involved a child, but did not elaborate.

McNeil did leave his home a few times during the negotiations, but went back inside without surrendering to deputies.

“We knew he had several rifles and other weapons inside the house,” Hughes said. “At one point, he came outside the residence and pointed a loaded firearm at some deputies. At that point, one of the Houston County deputies fired one shot and the subject is deceased.”

Authorities established a base of operations at a nearby church, where McNeil’s family members were located and later informed of his death.

Hughes called the event a terrible situation all around.

“We want to ask for prayers for the individual’s family,” he said. “The family hasn’t done anything whatsoever to break the law or do anything wrong, and we’d like to ask everyone to remember them in their prayers as they try to get through this terrible situation. It’s one we don’t like to have in law enforcement.”

He said sending in family members to talk in person with McNeil was never an option.

“We’re not going to put a civilian in danger with someone who’s apparently not thinking rationally and armed with a weapon,” Hughes said.

He also said killing McNeil was the last resort for deputies.

“If I had a sheriff’s deputy who told me he wanted to kill somebody, I’d get rid of him,” Hughes said. “Nobody should ever want to take a life. We never tried to enter the house. We were prepared to gas the house (and) drive him outside. That was our preferred means.”

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