A year after Ellis Road police standoff little has changed
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. –Nearly a year has passed since the Ellis Road police standoff, yet the scorched husk of the double-wide mobile home, ringed by clothes and busted furniture, remains relatively unchanged.
The only noticeable difference is that the grass surrounding the house has grown waist high in some spots.
And someone nailed a wooden plank across the front entrance where a door used to be and scrawled the words “This is what Sullivan County done.”
Following a daylong standoff involving local and federal police, an armored car, dozens of rounds of teargas, and a fire department, Junior Spradlin was nowhere to be found and the home was left in shambles.
Days later, Junior Spradlin surrendered to a local jail, where he remains locked up.
Since then, mother and daughter have struggled to replace everything lost in the fire – medication, clothes, music albums and winter coats, just to name a few items. After nearly a year of waiting, the two wonder if they will ever get their lives back on track.
“How can you just come in, destroy a person’s home, turn their lives upside down, and walk away?” Shirley Spradlin asked.
Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson declined to comment for this story. He has not commented on the incident since the news conference held hours after the home burned.
He ignored repeated warnings that a pyrotechnic teargas grenade meant for outdoor crowd control could spark a fire if thrown into the house, reports show.
“Their concern seemed to be the gas they had released so far had been ineffective and felt this type of gas would make the suspect come outside and end the incident,” Bristol, Tenn., Police Lt. Terry L. Johnson wrote in his report.
More discrepancies concerning the standoff cropped up in the following months. For example, police initially said they contacted Spradlin for several seconds on his cell phone, yet a Bristol Herald Courier inspection of the phone shows that no calls were answered on it during the standoff. Police later said contact was made on the home phone, but a review of the day’s radio traffic reveals an officer claimed contact on the cell phone before later asking for the number to the house phone.
Other discrepancies include:
- Spradlin said he was never in his mother’s home that day;
- Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office admitted no guns were in the house, despite initial claims of finding three;
- Firefighters said they cut the hole in the floor that Anderson suggested Spradlin used as an escape hatch;
- Firefighters said the blaze likely would have killed Spradlin if he were inside;
ADDED: Keep in mind its agencies like this one. The federal government is arming to the teeth with military grade equipment once used by our soldiers in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The police plan to use it on us, and the outcome, in all likelihood will be little different than this.