Law enforcement responds to tense standoff at Fitness Factor in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Law enforcement never knows what they will face in a day but are highly trained for intense situations.
At Fitness Factor in the Towne Square shopping center was where 56-year-old Dan Waldrop entered the building with a gun.
After negotiating for about an hour, the police were able to compromise with Waldrop and get him to peacefully stand down.
Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said it was a highway patrol officer who also works out at this gym that got Waldrop to surrender.
When there is a possibility of a gun threat, all hands are on deck.
Many times law enforcement will send a negotiator to build a rapport and understand the mindset of the person who is causing a threat.
“We don’t know what we’re dealing with or what’s going on and what the situation is. We don’t know if he’s mad or upset or aggravated so the first thing is to build that rapport,” said Hawkins.
In situations like this, it can be hard to convince someone to stand down when they know the outcome is jail time.
Law enforcement was able to do that with the help of one particular officer.
“One of the individuals that work at the highway patrol [exercises] here and had met him and had kind of a rapport with him so he was able to make contact through the doorway and speak with him and convince him to put the gun down,” said Hawkins.
Columbus Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said it took all the different departments working together and the 911 dispatchers played a vital role in how law enforcement controlled the scene.
“I want to give a compliment to our dispatch because our dispatch got flooded with multiple calls of 911 and they were able to get the information out to us so that we knew when we pulled up that we did have someone with a gun and we were able to set up a perimeter,” said Daughtry.
While you never know if you’ll be in this type of situation it is important to trust your instincts.
“If you feel that you can get away run and in some situations, you might have to fight, and if you can you will have to barricade yourself in,” said Daughtry.
As of late Tuesday Evening, Waldrop has been charged with Aggravated Assault with a Weapon, Kidnapping, and Discharging a Firearm in City Limits.
The Fitness Factor closed after the altercation, and they have not yet released when they will reopen.
Hawkins said this incident does not make this gym an unsafe place and that everything is safe and okay.
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