A more than 16-hour-long standoff with a man, who originally threatened to commit suicide then barricaded himself in a home on Palmetto Green Drive, came to an end after gas was deployed early Tuesday evening.
“Poomf!” The sound of an exploding gas canister drew the suspect’s sister from her car at the standoff. She had been on the phone with him, pleading for a peaceful end.
“What the (expletive) was that?” she asked, walking up to an officer on scene.
The sound broke the silence of the quiet neighborhood four times. Minutes later, officers moved in with gas masks. The suspect surrendered.
Neighbors say the man exited the home and lied on the ground as police moved in to take him into custody.
Officers first received a call to a home on Palmetto Green Drive in the Longs area in reference to a suicide attempt around midnight. A standoff ensued when officers learned they had a warrant for the man’s arrest.
Krystal Dotson, spokeswoman for the Horry County Police Department, said the suspect’s name is being withheld until he is officially served with the warrant, which could take a couple of days while the man undergoes medical evaluations.
“He is unharmed. There are no injuries reported at this time, but he is in police custody,” Dotson said, shortly before 5 p.m.
The standoff had continued for hours as Horry County SWAT and police officers, the Myrtle Beach Police Department negotiations team, and FBI flooded what is typically a quiet neighborhood street within the Colonial Charters Community.
Dotson said around 10 a.m. that nobody else was in the home on Palmetto Green Drive. But she could not confirm whether other people were in the home earlier in the morning.
“Officers responded and realized there was one male inside of his home,” Dotson said earlier on Tuesday. “We can confirm that he does have a weapon; however, no shots have been fired.”
The man has an outstanding warrant for drug-related charges, Dotson said. Authorities actively negotiated with him throughout the morning, and shortly after 2 p.m. the man’s sister arrived on scene in an attempt to talk him into surrendering to police.
John Watson Rankin, who told The Sun News he lives about 11 houses down from the home police are responding to, said security cameras at his residence picked up a single police vehicle approaching the house at around 12:05 a.m.
Rankin went outside at 4:30 a.m. when there were a handful of other law enforcement cars, but after 6 a.m., “it really started getting busy,” he wrote in a message to The Sun News.
Other residents on the scene said they were were startled to find multiple police cars, including SWAT vans, lining their street Tuesday morning.
“Ninety-eight percent of us here are retired,” said Steve Spivey, a neighborhood resident. “The most action is somebody driving around on a golf cart.”
Curious neighbors clustered in driveways Tuesday morning, sharing concerns as they stood on the edge of the police activity. Residents expressed growing weary as the hours drew on.
“We are keeping the residents as updated and as safe as we possibly can,” Dotson said. “We’ve got a lot of law enforcement officers that are out here that are around this house and that are taking every precaution to keep the residents safe.”
At the end, Dotson said, officers were pleased the situation ended without injuries.
“Our officers are safe. The individual is safe. We were able to wrap this up fairly quickly with no major harm or injury to anyone in the community,” she said. “We do feel that this was an isolated incident that has now been resolved.”
Chloe Johnson contributed to this report.