Police standoff with armed, barricaded Athens man ends peacefully


Otis Stewart

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man was arrested early Sunday following a lengthy armed standoff with police while barricaded in his home.

The incident in a neighborhood west of Whitehead Road, ended with no one being injured.

According to Athens-Clarke County police Lt. Shaun Barnett, the incident began at about 2 a.m. when officers were dispatched to a house in the 500 block of Camelot Drive on a woman’s drug-related 911 call concerning her boyfriend, who she said was waving a gun around.

After officers arrived and determined that no one in the residence was armed and no crimes had been committed, Barnett said, they returned to their cars on the street when they were informed that the female resident had called 911 again, to report that her boyfriend had shot himself.

The woman went outside to meet with officers still on the scene and told them that 42-year-old Otis Stewart was inside the bathroom and fired the gun, telling the woman that he had shot himself and to call police, said Barnett, who is public information officer for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

He said that officers attempted to reach Stewart by phone numerous times, but could not.

“Given that officers were unable to make contact with him, the determination was made that officers needed to enter the residence to check on his welfare and provide him medical attention if needed,” Barnett said. “Prior to entering the residence officers gave numerous loud announcements that they were the police. Officers entered the back door which led to the kitchen. Once inside the kitchen officers again gave verbal announcements calling out to Mr. Stewart who still did not respond."

While turning a hallway corner and still calling out to the man, officers “heard a gunshot very close to their location, which appeared directed at police,” according to Barnett, who said a decision was then made for officers to exit the residence for safety reasons and wait for additional resources.

“Eventually our Strategic Response Team arrived on scene and they took control of the perimeter. While attempting to make contact with Mr. Stewart who on a number of occasions discharged the weapon again inside the house,” Barnett said.

“After a couple hours and numerous attempts to resolve the incident peacefully SRT officers made entry into the residence,” he said. “They were able to establish verbal contact with him but he was still barricaded inside the bathroom and not complying with request from officers. They eventually made entry into the bathroom where Mr. Stewart still had the weapon in his hand. They deployed a taser successfully and were able to gain control of Mr. Stewart.”

Stewart was taken to the hospital as a precaution, and once medically cleared he was transported to the Clarke County jail and booked in on a charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer, Barnett said.

He was being held without bond as of Monday morning.

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