Standoff ends peacefully

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

A petite woman with long, curly black hair stood in front of the police

barricade and raised her hands skyward.

She seemed oblivious to police officers and a camouflaged SWAT team who was sweating in bulletproof vests while carrying semi-automatic weapons.

The woman was joined by five other people who clapped and cried out to the Almighty as the tension mounted along Minter Avenue in East Selma.

This small group was among roughly 200 people gathered at the scene of a massive standoff between police and a suspected killer yesterday.

The incident began at 4 a.m. after an all-night-long search by Selma Police for the man accused of shooting 18-year-old Akisha Moore Tuesday night at a car wash/pool hall on Marie Foster Street.

Lt. David Evans, Selma Police spokesperson, said the third shift patrol

received information that the suspect was at his grandmother’s home at 108 C Rangedale Annex apartments.

When the suspect did not respond to the officers’ attempts to communicate, a decision was made to contact the Alabama State Trooper Tactical Response Unit based out of Montgomery.

Nearly the entire length of Minter Avenue was blocked off by police vehicles and yellow tape.

As Alabama Bureau of Investigation officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, TRU officers surrounded the apartment and camouflaged snipers were stationed on rooftops. A police helicopter flew in circles overhead.

Evans said Alabama Power was requested to turn off the electricity in the apartment in hopes the suspect would give up after sitting in the heat.

Shortly before 11 a.m., TRU officers threw a tactical video camera into one of the apartment windows in an attempt to locate the suspect inside.

After a seven-hour wait, the suspect surrendered peacefully.

He was later identified as Bobby Thomas, 19, of Selma.

Thomas was transported to Selma Police headquarters and charged with murder.

Within hours, Thomas was in Circuit Court Judge Bob Armstrong’s courtroom for his bond hearing.

Thomas kept his head down during the entire proceedings, barely moving as Selma police officers gave their testimony to the judge.

Detective Tory Neely, the lead investigator in the case, told the judge that witnesses identified Thomas as the pool hall/car wash shooter through a photo line-up.

Neely testified the shooting was the result of an argument between Thomas and another man.

Officers found a revolver in the apartment where Thomas engaged in the standoff with police, according to Neely.

Detective Tommy Buford said Thomas may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the standoff.

After hearing the testimony, Armstrong granted the District Attorney’s request for a $5 million bond.

Armstrong told Thomas he hoped the $5 million bond would keep him &8220;off the streets.&8221;

District Attorney Michael Jackson said he hoped the arrest and high bond will bring some justice to the family of the shooting victim.

Thomas’s preliminary court hearing is set for Aug. 4.