UPDATE: SWAT standoff prompts school lockdown
UPDATE: A SWAT standoff prompted a North Georgia Middle School to be placed on a "soft" lockdown, Wednesday.
Officials at Lakeview Middle School in Fort Oglethorpe put the lock down in place after a man in a surrounding neighborhood called deputies, threatening to harm himself and others. News of the lockdown had many parents worried about their children's safety -- but officials say no threats were ever made to the school.
Deputies identified the man as David Grooms, 49 he was taken into custody around 1 p.m. and charged with 2 counts of terroristic threats. The suspect's wife Melanie Grooms, 42 was also charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Officials said she willfully stayed inside of the home where her husband was waving two loaded weapons at officers.
Sheriff Gary Sisk tells Channel 3 the standoff started around 9 a.m. after Grooms called Catoosa County's dispatch threatening his own life and the life of officers. When deputies arrived at his home on South Elmwood Street just 500-1000 feet behind Lakeview Middle School, they saw Grooms on his front porch carrying two loaded weapons.
"He was threatening suicide, threatening to kill law enforcement if they approached the residence," said Sheriff Gary Sisk, Catoosa County Sheriff's Dept.
Sheriff Sisk says officers acted quickly to notify the school and create a perimeter around the home. The 49-year-old was armed with a loaded long rifle and pistol.
"He did threaten the officers that if they were come on his property he would shoot at them," said Sheriff Sisk.
Investigators say the gunman's wife Melanie Grooms was inside the home with him but when deputies asked her to come out she refused. Hours into the standoff, SWAT teams and the FBI were called in because officers learned the gunman had a military history. Sheriff Sisk tells us at one point during the standoff, Grooms did point his pistol at officers.
"There was a time when he was at the door of the residence when he was moving the gun around quite a bit that yes it could've been conceived he was pointing it towards officers," said Sheriff Sisk.
When asked what the training for officers is in this type of situation, as far as when to take a shot and when not to, Sheriff Sisk replied," Well I mean the officer has the same rights as a citizen, if their life is in danger they can protect themselves. At that moment officers were behind cars, taking cover....They didn't perceive an immediate threat to their life."
School officials said the children were not in any danger at Lakeview Middle. While doors were locked, classes were not interrupted. Parents were notified of the situation via the school's text messaging system. Some parents told Channel 3 they were proud of the school's efforts in keeping their children safe.
Deputies said they do have a history with David Grooms calling the sheriff's office and filing complaints. While Grooms surrendered himself peacefully after the standoff, authorities tell Channel 3 they had a hard time getting his booking photo inside of the jail because he and his wife were being uncooperative. Grooms will appear before a judge Thursday morning. Deputies confirm Melanie Grooms bonded out of jail.
A SWAT standoff Wednesday morning in Fort Oglethorpe prompted the lock down of nearby Lakeview Middle School.
David Grooms called police, making threats against himself inside his home on South Elmwood Street, which back up to the school.
Grooms was armed with both load rifle and handgun; his wife Melanie Grooms was inside the home at the time. She declined to leave, despite prompting from police.
After a several-hour long standoff, Grooms peacefully surrendered.
He is charged with two counts of terroristic threats; his wife is charged with obstruction of law enforcement.
Both are being booked at the Catoosa County jail.
Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said that Grooms has called law enforcement on several occasions, but does not have a criminal record.
Stay with Channel 3 for more on this developing story.