18-hour standoff ends in LaGrange

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

The LaGrange Police Department said the suspect from an 18-hour standoff with police is believed to be dead and that they are moving forward with a recovery mission.

The home the suspect, Brian Jessee, was barricaded in on Sunny Point Circle caught fire Wednesday morning, and based on the damage from the blaze, the LPD said the suspect was dead. Officer Clayton Bryant, who was serving as public information officer, said it was unclear what started the fire.

“At this point, we are extremely confident he was inside home, and there is not much left of the home at this point as a result of the fire,” Bryant said. “We do feel very confident that this is coming to a conclusion. At this point, this will be a recovery effort for the remains.”

Bryant said it was unclear what killed Jessee, as LPD had also exchanged gunfire with him after he continuously fired at officers. Bryant said the suspect fired over 300 rounds and was also able to disarm an armored vehicle. Bryant said that the last gunfire exchange was around midnight on Wednesday.

“We continuously did verbal appeals during this entire process trying to afford him the opportunity to come out peacefully,” Bryant said. “This went on for hours.”

The LPD received assistance from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Newnan Police Department, Peachtree City Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Explosives Division.

The area of Moss Creek was reopened Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. Roughly 30 homes in Sunny Point were still not reachable around 11 a.m. as the GBI continued its investigation, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting. The LPD will also perform its own administrative investigation.

“We feel we have the scene reduced to the area surrounding the home,” Bryant said earlier Wednesday. “We are not opening up yet, but will be opening up Moss Creek to Moss Creek residents. Sunny Point Circle itself will remain closed because officers did engage. This does qualify as an officer involved shooting. Because of that the GBI will come in and work their investigation and we will work a concurrent administrative investigation on our involvement.”

Bryant said the suspect is believed to have had explosives, believed to be tannerite inside the home, as well as ammunition for multiple firearms.

He said the LPD had turned the power on and off to the home at different points for a tactical advantage. He said the LPD had held up well despite the long duration of the standoff.

“Community support has been great. People have brought us food. I was in the inner perimeter of this ordeal and the neighbors who did remain brought us sandwiches and waters,” Bryant said. “… Very few people have had to be in this for the duration of the 17 or 18 hours, whatever it is now. We’ve been able to work in shifts.”

The standoff actually stems back to an incident Monday at approximately 12:50 p.m. in reference to a welfare check on two 8-year-old children who were possibly inside the residence with Jessee, who was threatening to commit suicide.

The LPD said that matter was resolved when the children were safely removed from the residence.

On Tuesday, the LPD initiated commitment proceedings for a mental health evaluation for Jessee and received a court order. Before the order could be served, credible information was received that led LPD to obtain arrest warrants for six counts of felony terroristic threats, one count of Cruelty to a Child in Second Degree and one count of felony obstruction.

LPD learned that Jessee had multiple firearms and explosives inside the residence. Based on that, at approximately 3 p.m., LPD began evacuating residents from the area. While evacuating the neighborhood, Jessee was observed in the 100 block of Sunny Point Circle with an AR-15, per LPD. Jessee fired rounds from that rifle putting officers and residents in imminent danger. Incident command and a perimeter was immediately established.

Over the next several hours, officers made multiple attempts to contact Jessee in order to safely resolve the incident. They were met with additional gunfire. Jessee then retreated into his residence where he remained barricaded until Wednesday morning.