FOREST PARK—One man is in custody following a standoff in the Holiday Hills subdivision in unincorporated Forest Park that shut down traffic on I-75 South for several hours Tuesday afternoon and forced residents from their homes.
Around noon, Clayton County Police SWAT and the U.S. Marshals Service came to a gray house in a cul-de-sac in the 6000 block of Bimini Drive near Boca Raton Drive to serve a warrant on Timothy James O'Neil, who was wanted in Lancaster County, Neb. on terroristic threat charges.
O'Neil, who U.S. Marshals say allegedly threatened to kill his girlfriend and shoot up a Walmart, fired on officers. The U.S. Marshals called in CCPD SWAT as backup, then eventually fired "a chemical irritant" into the house. O'Neil emerged and was taken into custody around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Neighbors told the News that, after they heard a loud boom and shots fired, officers began knocking on doors and telling people to leave the area.
"I guess it was before 12," said Vanette Adams. "I had saw the police up there at Food Depot, and they were gathering and everything, and I told the man in the store, 'Wow, something's getting ready to happen, there's a lot of police there.' He said, 'Wow, I didn't notice.' So I didn't know when I came back home that I was going to come into this." She stood in clear view of the house and was clutching her diapered granddaughter, Kamani, as she spoke.
When Adams got to the stop sign by her house, "I heard this big boom go off, and then the next thing I heard is something ta-da-da-da, shots. Then all of a sudden, probably about 30 minutes after that, they had told us, 'You know, you need to leave the house.' They went from door to door, knocking on doors, telling people to leave."
Clayton County Police, Sheriff's deputies and Fire and Emergency Services roared up and down Tara Boulevard as traffic stacked up off Exit 235 and backed up on Holiday Drive. Police blocked off Boca Grande Boulevard and other neighborhood cut-throughs.
As police and news helicopters circled above, onlookers tried to get closer to the action and people in traffic hollered out of their windows, asking what was happening. One person who lives in the neighborhood, Jacqueline Smith, said she had been trying to get home from work for an hour.
"They gotta do what they gotta do, but I'm ready to go home," Smith said just before 3 p.m. "I'm tired. I don't understand. It takes all that for one man?"
A neighbor on Holiday Boulevard who asked not to be identified said, "They had the whole section blocked off. We got in the middle of it but they let us on out."
"Through the patience and diligence displayed by the Clayton County Police Department's Crisis Negotiation Team. SWAT, E-911 Communications, all officers on scene and the United States Marshals Service, O'Neil was taken into custody without injury to officers or O'Neil," said Clayton County Police spokesperson Sgt. Cherie West. Despite early reports to the contrary, West said no hostages had been taken during the incident.
O'Neil will face additional charges, West said.
Other agencies taking part in the incident were the Clayton County Sheriff's Department, Morrow Police, Forest Park Police and Georgia Department of Transportation H.E.R.O. The News also saw at least one ATF agent on scene and a after O'Neil was taken into custody.
"We've been here 28 years," Adams said. "This never happened."
Check back for more photos, audio and video from the scene.