OUR VIEWPOINT: Luckily no one else was hurt at the dead end – LaGrange Daily News
TThe LaGrange Police Department dealt with a situation earlier this week that no law enforcement agency ever wants to be in.
A man, identified as Brian Jessee, was barricaded in a house in Sunny Point Circle and apparently armed with several guns and Tannerite. In such a populated area, the LPD had no choice but to evacuate the area, asking residents to stay away from their homes.
A situation that everyone hoped to be resolved quickly continued into the evening. And then until the next morning.
We are unaware of the tactical decisions the LPD and other law enforcement agencies made throughout this 6-hour standoff, but we believe it is clear that law enforcement did all they could to make this standoff end in a different outcome – one that ended up with Jessee handcuffed but at least still alive.
Unfortunately, it did not end like this.
At one point in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Jessee’s house caught fire and it practically burned down. It is not known what caused the fire. A body was found in the fire, and it is believed to be Jessee.
We know little about the suspect at this point, although we would certainly like to say more, and we think of his friends and family who have to pick up the pieces afterward. We would certainly love to have the opportunity to speak to anyone who knew him. He also has a story, and those two days – even as bad as they were – haven’t told the story of his life.
Having said that, law enforcement remains a hot topic in our country, but we have written many times that the LPD is an example of good deed. But even for long-time police officers, this situation was unique and we assumed that some had never been involved before.
It’s about as tense a situation as the one law enforcement can find itself in, especially since police officers have been shot for hours. Fortunately, the armored vehicles held up (although the suspect disabled one) and the training paid off.
This incident is a reminder – if anyone needed it – of the danger law enforcement officers can find themselves in.
An internal LPD investigation and an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will give us more details later on what went well.
And we’re sure there’s a lot to be learned from flashbacks.
But no LPD officer, or any other law enforcement officer, was injured in the deadlock. Other than the suspect, no other residents of the neighborhood were injured, although the LPD had to ask many people to abruptly leave their homes as Jessee was armed and dangerous nearby.
And although many were slightly inconvenienced and had to find another place to sleep unexpectedly, evacuating the neighborhood was worth it to keep residents safe.
We are grateful that no one else was hurt.
The mental health aspects of this situation are also hard to ignore.
We were told that a court order had been filed to initiate an undertaking proceedings for Jessee.
The LPD has also been at the forefront of change regarding mental health, including agreeing to an early response program earlier this year to defuse situations. A mental health professional participated in discussions with Jessee throughout this incident.
We’re sure this case will only lead to more mental health talk in the future.
As tense as the situation was, we are grateful that none of our law enforcement officers were injured, nor the residents nearby.