A SWAT standoff involving five children ended without injury in southwest Atlanta on Monday morning after hours of tense negotiations with one child’s father.
The children, ages 3 to 10, were released unharmed just after 7 a.m. About 20 minutes later, SWAT officers moved into the home on Graymont Drive, deployed gas and took the man into custody, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Jarius Daugherty said. Channel 2 Action News identified the man as Cortney Chones, 33.
Daugherty said the man fired a shot into the air during an argument with his girlfriend, prompting the woman to call 911. Police responded to the home just after 2 a.m.
“While officers were speaking to (his girlfriend) outside the home, the suspect barricaded himself inside the location with approximately five of their children,” he said.
The children were sleeping at the time.
Gene Smith, the woman’s father, said Chones only fathered the 3-year-old. He did not believe Chones would harm the kids, but after another recent SWAT standoff in metro Atlanta ended with the deaths of a pregnant mother and her teenage son, he was afraid for their lives.
Henry County investigators say a man shot his girlfriend and two police officers before killing her son and then himself during a standoff that stretched from midmorning Thursday to the pre-dawn hours Friday.
Sandra White was fatally shot before police arrived, and officers found the bodies of 16-year-old Arkeyvion White and the gunman, Anthony Bailey, when they forced their way into the Stockbridge home.
The officers survived their injuries. Smith said the tragic Henry County incident ran through his mind while he waited for news of his grandchildren.
“I thought about that,” Smith said. “I hoped that it wouldn’t come to that, and it didn’t.”
He said he believed Chones was waiting to release the children until it was time for school. They emerged from the home wearing their school uniforms and ready to start the day. It did not appear they were traumatized, Smith said.
“They are with their mama now,” he said with a sigh of relief. “I’m good. I’m happy now.”
Daugherty said hostage negotiators and SWAT officers were also “extremely relieved.” No shots were fired during the more than five-hour ordeal.
“This is five kids who were not involved in this incident,” he said. “It’s a dispute between a mother and father. The children played no part in that.”
In order to resolve the situation peacefully, negotiators spoke to the man by loudspeaker, but Daugherty did not know if he refused to come out or if he was simply uncommunicative.
“Our SWAT team and our hostage negotiators prepare for these types of situations,” he said. “... Things were able to be solved without incident.”
Chones was arrested on misdemeanor charges of simple battery, reckless conduct and obstruction, according to jail records. He was being held in the Fulton County Jail on Monday afternoon, and his bond had not been determined.