A 17-hour standoff between police and a gunman in a Georgia neighborhood ended Wednesday morning with the suspect dead and a house in flames, authorities said.
Brian Jessee, 39, had been barricaded inside the LaGrange home alone in the 100 block of Sunny Point Circle since Tuesday afternoon after police went there to serve him with a felony arrest warrant related to an incident the previous night, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
When they arrived Tuesday, officers saw Jessee walking in the road with an AR-15 rifle and then witnessed him firing into the air, police said. The GBI said he refused to drop the weapon and then barricaded himself in the home about 3 p.m.
The LaGrange SWAT team and other SWAT units from neighboring jurisdictions, in addition to the GBI Bomb Disposal Unit, responded to the scene as authorities began evacuating the neighborhood. Police said they learned Jessee had multiple firearms and explosives inside the residence.
During the overnight standoff, Jessee shot at officers multiple times, according to the GBI. Police responded, firing multiple times at the suspect, Miles said. The SWAT teams even used an armored vehicle “but were met with gunfire for several hours,” LaGrange police said.
At 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, a fire broke out in the home, quickly engulfing the entire structure, police said. The LaGrange Fire Department responded and put out the blaze.
Once officers made their way into the home, they discovered Jessee’s remains. A GBI medical examiner will perform an autopsy.
No officers were injured during the standoff. Residents were allowed to enter their neighborhood again around 10 a.m.
The arrest warrant was related to an incident at the home Monday afternoon when LaGrange officers were conducting a wellness check. After an initial investigation, LaGrange police said Jessee was threatening to kill himself, so his two 8-year-old children were removed from the house.
The next day, police said they initiated “commitment proceedings” for a mental health evaluation for Jessee and received a court order. But before the order could be served, “credible information” was discovered that led to police obtaining the arrest warrants for six counts of felony terroristic threats, one count of cruelty to a child in the second degree, and one count of felony obstruction.
The standoff has been classified as the 85th officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated this year and the fourth this month. The state agency investigated 96 such incidents in 2020.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don’t involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI’s tally.