PORTAGEVILLE - A mentally-ill man believed to be armed with a gun kept law enforcement officers at bay for some two hours Wednesday.
At about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department received a report of shots being fired two miles east of Portageville along Highway 162 in an area known as Scott School. New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens said today his officers had been called to the area in the past and their investigation took them to a residence of a individual he described as having mental problems.
When the individual was contacted he refused to speak with officers.
"Our officers backed off and decided they would try again later when he came busting out of the house," said Stevens.
The sheriff described the man as wearing a down-type vest taped with metal plating and pieces of electronic items on the front. The back of the vest had wings. The man was wearing a black-painted motorcycle helmet which had a grill and face mask added along with a plastic eye-piece. He was carrying what appeared to be a long-barrel weapon.
Rather than confront the individual, officers drew back and the standoff began, Stevens reported. Called in to assist the New Madrid County deputies were officers from the Portageville and the New Madrid police departments, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Sikeston Department of Public Safety's SOG (Special Operations Group) unit.
Stevens said the man kept backing away from officers until he was standing in the middle of a newly planted corn field.
With the efforts of the SOG Team, officers began surrounding the area, approaching the man behind a vehicle. An officer with the SOG Team was able to shoot the man in the leg with a 37 mm plastic projectile, knocking him down and ending the standoff at 1:38 p.m.
"He wasn't injured but will probably have a sore leg today, but nothing serious," said Stevens. Once the man was in custody he offered no further resistance.
At this time officers were able to determine the item he was carrying was fashioned from various parts of guns and other items to look like a weapon but was not capable of shooting. Officers did locate a homemade weapon inside the house that apparently was capable of firing and a spent cartridge was recovered from the front door of a nearby church.
The man, identified as Carl Gill of rural Portageville, did not resist arrest once taken into custody. During the two-hour wait, the sheriff said he had requested an emergency order from the court to transport Gill to Farmington for mental evaluation and treatment.
The man was taken to Farmington shortly after the standoff concluded.
Stevens praised all the officers involved noting the man was believed to be armed with a weapon and dangerous. Particularly he noted the service provided by the SWAT team: "This could have been a lot worse but with their experience and professionalism, this situation ended without anyone getting hurt."