An hourslong SWAT standoff at a Vine City home began Monday morning with a child’s frantic 911 call.
Three siblings said their father had beaten them with a baseball bat, according to Atlanta police. They escaped to a neighbor’s house, but a fourth child was still inside the Griffin Street home with the man, later identified as 36-year-old James Tidwell.
The child, a young girl, was not rescued until about five hours later. Shortly after a SWAT member carried her to safety, Tidwell was taken from the home in handcuffs.
When officers responded about 6:30 a.m., they found the three other children with minor injuries to their heads. It is not known what provoked the alleged attack, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant said.
“They are young and they were attacked,” he said from the scene. “They of course were shaken up and scared. We just got them treatment as soon as possible.”
The children were checked out at the scene by a Grady Memorial Hospital medic team. An update on their conditions was not provided.
The girl rescued from the home did not appear to be injured.
“We do not know if he ever had threatened to injure her at some point during the negotiation,” Grant said.
The front and side entrances to the home were barricaded during the standoff, he said. A baseball bat and a knife were recovered from the scene and placed into evidence.
The situation prompted a soft lockdown at nearby Hollis Innovation Academy, impacting students arriving for school after the winter break. Traffic into the school was affected, but learning continued inside the building, Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Ian Smith said.
“Once an all-clear was provided by the Atlanta Police and the Atlanta Public Schools Police Department, the lockdown was lifted and the school day proceeded as normal,” Smith said in a statement.
Eventually, officers deployed a low-level explosive and made entry into the home, Grant said. The child was carried out just before 11:30 a.m., and Tidwell was apprehended a short time later.
“He was arrested by SWAT without further incident,” Grant said.
Tidwell is being held in the Fulton County Jail on two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of cruelty to children in the third degree.
He was denied bond Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 22.
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