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June 6, 2014

Wild day for sheriff’s SWAT team

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called out twice within a few hours Wednesday night; once on a reported gunman with an assault rifle who turned out to be a “Right To Carry” activist, and then to a hostage situation in which a Dallas County man was allegedly holding a woman at gunpoint.

Brock Dickerson Garner, 35, of Balch Springs remained in custody at the Hunt County Jail Thursday evening, charged with aggravated kidnapping/using hostage as shield in the latter incident. Bond had not yet been set in the case.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said the SWAT unit was first dispatched at 5:23 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a subject in military clothes carrying a semi-automatic rifle at the intersection of FM 1562 and FM 36 west of Celeste.

Meeks said the officers attempted to make contact with the subject, who would not respond to deputies before disappearing into heavy brush around County Road 1134 near the Hunt/Collin county line.

A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter out of Garland and the SWAT team conducted an hour-long search before locating the suspect, who was from McKinney, who explained he was in support of the Right to Carry movement.

Meeks said the subject was released and no charges were filed.

“The subject was dressed in camouflage, had a flak jacket on along with a military styled helmet carrying an AR-15 assault gun,” Meeks said. “I strongly support the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution and our right to bear arms.

“However, when someone dresses like this and is carrying an assault weapon on a public road it creates fear for our regular citizens. Not to mention the amount of manpower and hours that was used because of this one individual. Time spent out there could have been used knocking on a drug dealer’s door or a sex offender’s door. It was an unfortunate incident.”

A second call came in at 10:27 p.m. Wednesday on Taylor Drive east of Quinlan. The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a disturbance on Taylor Drive. Upon arrival, deputies encountered a subject holding a shotgun to an elderly woman in a wheelchair as a hostage. Deputies attempted to convince the suspect to put the gun down.

Meeks said the SWAT team was alerted as deputies continued to talk to the suspect and were able to convince him to put the gun down.

Garner eventually put the shotgun down, but picked up a knife and held it to his throat threatening to commit suicide. Meeks said before SWAT was able to get to the location, deputies were able to talk the man into putting the knife down.

“I am very pleased that nobody was injured or killed during this hostage situation,” Meeks said. “My deputies showed professionalism and courage in dealing with this potential deadly situation.”

Aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

 

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