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Man arrested after two-hour standoff with Columbia police

Saturday, August 15, 2009 | 5:14 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man was arrested Friday night after a two-hour standoff with police at a duplex on McKee Lane.

Police initially responded to a call of shots fired at about 5:45 p.m. and encountered several people at 1818 McKee Lane. They were able to remove all but Eric Gathings, the suspect in the shooting, who refused to leave the residence.

For almost two hours, at least eight officers were on the scene trying to convince Gathings to exit the residence. At least three officers had weapons drawn and aimed at the front of the residence for the duration of the incident. One officer called into the house more than 30 times with a megaphone asking Gathings to surrender himself.

At about 7:25 p.m., Gathings surrendered and was arrested. A family friend was able to call Gathings while he was inside the house and speak with him, and she handed the phone off to an officer, who was able to convince Gathings to come outside peacefully.

Lt. Scott Young of the Columbia Police Department said Gathings was initially afraid the police would harm him if he were to surrender, as he had a felony warrant out for his arrest.

The shooting was the result of a dispute between Gathings and an unidentified male and female, Young said. Gathings went outside the house and shot a gun, and the male called the police. Police could not say Friday night where the gun was aimed when it was shot, but they said neighbors were able to verify that one shot was fired at that time.

Witnesses on the street said they heard other shots fired during the standoff, but police were unable to confirm any other shots fired.

A gun was recovered from the house after Gathings was arrested, but it is unclear if it was the weapon used in the incident, Young said.

Young said Gathings will be charged for firing a gun within city limits, but he could not confirm other charges.


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