By Ed Brock
Terry Herring was pulling up to his house Tuesday morning when he witnessed the beginning of what would be a seven-hour standoff between his neighbor's boyfriend and police.
The standoff would end with no serious injuries less than 15 minutes after 38-year-old Larry Calloway's uncle arrived and convinced him to release his girlfriend, 32-year-old Rashania Rembert. Calloway has been charged with aggravated assault, simple battery, kidnapping and cruelty to children, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.
It was around 9:30 a.m. and Herring saw Rembert arguing with Calloway, in the yard of the duplex where they lived at the end of Matthew Lane near Jonesboro.
"She waved me down to stop," said Herring, who lives next door.
Herring said Calloway then grabbed Rembert by the neck and dragged her back inside, leaving her 12-year-old son standing in the yard, holding the knife Calloway had supposedly used to stab Rembert the night before.
"I jumped out of the car and told him to let her go. He didn't pay any attention to me," Herring said.
He called 911 and brought the son over to his house where they waited for the standoff to end.
Clayton County police and sheriff's deputies soon surrounded the house and settled in for the long siege. Members of the police SWAT unit penetrated as far as the downstairs of the home and saw that Calloway, who claimed to have a 9 mm handgun, had barricaded himself with Rembert in an upstairs bedroom.
"He threatened to harm anybody who came into the bedroom," Turner said.
So the police waited while Calloway said voices in his head were telling him not to surrender and that he didn't want to go back to prison, Clayton County Police Chief Darrell Partain said. Partain said the incident had begun Monday night when Calloway held Rembert, her son and 14-year-old daughter hostage.
During that time, Partain said, Calloway stabbed Rembert twice in the back but the injuries were slight. After the standoff she was taken away to Southern Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Rembert's daughter apparently went to school on Tuesday but her mother told her not to tell anybody about the situation at her home, Turner said.
"She did what her mother told her," Turner said.
As the hostage situation dragged on, other residents of Matthew Lane brought chairs out into their yards to watch the drama from behind police lines.
"We prayed and we believe that the outcome will not be violent," said resident Sandra Hawkins.
From her house across the cul-de-sac from the standoff, Rona Morris watched the scene happening outside her window and also prayed.
"I was just praying that life would be preserved and everybody would walk away," Morris said.
Tim Morrow said he saw the standoff on television, then recognized a truck in the yard of his aunt's house on Matthew Lane and hurried down.
"I just really wonder what's going through this person's mind," Morrow wondered as he stared down the road at the house that was the center of everybody's attention. "As long as it comes out peaceful, that's the main thing."
Rhouas Ridgeway lives down the road, closer to Calloway and Rembert's home, and said he'd seen Calloway around the neighborhood.
"He was an all right guy to me," Ridgeway said. "He was really friendly, I spoke with him all the time."
Stephanie Barber lives across the cul-de-sac from Rembert and said her children knew Rembert's children. She had only met Calloway, who she said is a truck driver, two months ago.
The violent incident took her by surprise.
"Her own daughter told me that he was very good to them," Barber said. "He seemed perfectly nice."
But Rembert's landlord, Edward Melton, said he knew there was trouble between Rembert and Calloway.
"It was physical, you could see it," Melton said.
However, Melton was under the impression that Calloway had left a week before.
Herring said he also knew about the abuse, but it was "nothing as drastic as this."
He added that Rembert's son held up well during the standoff.
"He's been pretty decent about it," Herring said, but he also said that he didn't want to go into what he'd heard from the boy about what had happened in the house Monday night.
Calloway's uncle, who Partain said was an experienced hostage negotiator with the Atlanta Police Department, was able to convince Calloway to surrender. The uncle arrived on the scene wearing a uniform but left before he could be interviewed.
Partain said officers did not find a gun in the house after the arrest.