Subject of hours-long SWAT standoff at DeKalb Kroger facing charges

A man who claimed to have a bomb was taken into custody Thursday at a Kroger in south DeKalb County after more than five hours of negotiations with police.

Authorities evacuated the store, which is located on the corner of Flat Shoals Parkway and Flakes Mill Road, around 6:30 a.m. after the man was discovered sitting by the propane tank dispenser.

The DeKalb County police bomb squad arrives at the Kroger to help with a bomb threat. Police blocked off several blocks in the area.
Photo: Phil Skinner / AJC

DeKalb police did not know Thursday morning how long he was there before they responded, police Capt. P.S. Sheirling told AJC.com.

“He has a couple of bags on him and an unidentified object in his hand at this time,” Sheirling said earlier from the scene. “He's saying he's going to blow himself up. We have a hostage negotiator that’s already speaking with him at this time, trying to develop some communication with him.”


 

During negotiations, police shut down several blocks in the surrounding Chapel Hill area as a precaution. The DeKalb bomb squad and traffic division were called in, and DeKalb County fire crews were put on standby.

DeKalb County police SWAT members suit up to help with a bomb threat Thursday morning.
Photo: Phil Skinner / AJC

The large police presence also forced a low-level lockdown at Chapel Hill Middle and Chapel Hill Elementary, the DeKalb County School District said.

“All students and staff are safe,” the district said.


 

Officers did not know Thursday morning if the man actually had a bomb, but Sheirling said they were treating the situation as if it’s the “worst-case scenario.” During the standoff, they did not have any information about the man or what his connection to the Kroger could be.

“We're trying to help him and find out the best course of action,” he said. “The location has been evacuated, the parking lot is evacuated. There's no threat to the citizens at this time.”

The SWAT unit took the man into custody around 11:30 a.m. using nonlethal measures, DeKalb police Sgt. H.G. Traylor told AJC.com. Police are not releasing the man’s name, but Traylor said he would be charged with making terroristic threats. 

The police bomb squad utilized a robot during the standoff.
Photo: Phil Skinner / AJC

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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