Clay county standoff raises concerns over suspects with mentally illness

This comes after Tommy Gandy was found mentally incompetent in a similar incident nearly eight years ago.

CLAY COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- Tommy Gandy remains in the Clay County Detention Center, and one question remains –how will the case unfold?

This comes after Gandy was found mentally incompetent in a similar incident nearly eight years ago.

Sheriff Eddie Scott said there isn’t a clear motive of what led Tommy Gandy to break into his mother’s home.

And this isn’t Gandy’s first arrest for this type of crime.

Broken windows and holes in the doors—that’s what’s left after a hostage situation in the Cedar Bluff community on Thursday.

After a six-hour stand-off with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency agencies, 39-year-old Tommy Gandy surrendered.

“He fired multiple rounds at the SWAT Team last night when they were trying to remove him,” said Scott.

Scott tells WCBI the 911 call came in around 2 p.m.

” I had her on the phone. She said her son broke into the house itself. I was able to get her to the bedroom where she barricaded herself in,” said Scott.

Helen Gandy, the mother of the suspect, was pulled to safety from her bedroom window. Sheriff Scott tells me that’s when Tommy Gandy started firing rounds of gunfire.

And it’s not Gandy’s first run-in with the law.

” We had a stand-off with him back in 2013 somewhere in this area. It was the same situation. He kidnapped an uncle, and the SWAT Teams had to go in and get him,” said Scott.

Gandy was charged with one count of aggravated assault on a police officer, one count of kidnapping.

Scott said this is where putting Gandy behind bars gets tricky— He is ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.

So, if an accused criminal is mentally ill, what does it mean in the justice system?

” When these individuals are incompetent to stand trial of any crimes they committed, it effectively ties our District Attorney and our judge’s hands. There’s nothing they can do other than turn them over to the state hospital. There’s no lone range facility to house these type individuals,” said Scott.

And housing options are few for patients across the state.

” Once they commit these crimes and are deemed incompetent to stand trial, they are eventually released back into the public. It’s something that law enforcement has said to the legislators for years. They have got to take notice, and they have got to take it seriously. When you start involving the mentally ill, there’s no set playbook,” said Scott.

For the time being, Gandy will remain behind bars. The process is likely to start all over again.

Photo of Tommy Gandy in 2013.

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