Three people — all confirmed Bloods gang members — were arrested Tuesday following an hours-long SWAT standoff in which shots were fired at police officers responding to a report of a break-in at a Marietta gun store.
No officers were hit during the standoff, which played out for more than four hours at the Deercreek Gun Shop on South Fairground Street and South Marietta Parkway and came in the wake of recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
“We had to be careful because it’s a gun store and police are being shot at these days,” Marietta police Officer Brittany Wallace told Channel 2 Action News.
“There is a fear right now in law enforcement. People seem to hate us.”
Police were called to Deercreek just before 4:20 a.m. When they arrived at the gun store, they saw people moving inside the business and began surrounding it.
That’s when multiple gunshots were fired from inside the store.
“One officer returned fire but no suspects or officers were injured in the exchange,” Wallace said.
Officers found two people on the roof of the business and arrested them. One of the people was injured when he jumped off the roof but didn’t sustain any injuries during the arrest, police said.
Other agencies were called to assist Marietta police.
Cobb County police and sheriff’s officials helped Marietta police find a third person on the roof about 6:30 a.m. and a fourth person in an adjoining business about 7:20 a.m., Wallace said.
A SWAT team entered the gun shop about 8:05 a.m. to help find a fifth person in the area. When the standoff ended just before 9 a.m., police said there was no fifth person as originally suspected. And the fourth person detained was “released due to no involvement in the case,” Wallace said.
Rashad Kirkland, 24, of Union City; Maurice Irwin, 24, of Marietta; and Rashad Brewer, 20, of Dallas, were arrested on charges of armed burglary, aggravated assault on a police officer, Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Kirkland was also charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.
Store owners and siblings James Rabun and Sarah Rabun said the suspects may have thought their store, which their family has owned 34 years, was an easy target because it’s small.
They said they were glad the standoff ended without injuries.
“We wanted [the police officers] to do whatever they needed to do to stay safe,” Sarah Rabun said.
—Photojournalist Branden Camp contributed to this article.