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February 27, 2010

Sheriff: Suspect ‘surprised’ SWAT members

Officers didn’t have time to assess scene, Richardson says

ANDERSON — The Madison County Sheriff said deputies who were setting up a perimeter for a possibly armed man never got the chance to evacuate nearby residents.

“He surprised the officers by being back in the woods,” said sheriff Ron Richardson.

County SWAT team members Capt. Rob Oleksy, a 14-year veteran, and Officer Dave Morgan, a 26-year veteran, were setting up a perimeter Friday afternoon in the 700 block of East Sixth Street in Alexandria on a tip that Mark E. Croy, 47, was at a residence there, Richardson said.

Croy, wanted on a misdemeanor and armed with a sawed-off shotgun, refused to surrender, so the officers shot him “multiple times,” according to the sheriff.

Neighbors expressed concern Saturday that they were sitting in their homes with no knowledge that the SWAT team members were literally in their backyards. Richardson said Friday that the tip to the department warned Croy may be armed.

“That’s not right that nobody came around and said anything – and with my grandbabies in here,” said Tammy Cornett, who lives directly west of the wooded area where Croy was shot. “If they’re going to be that close, they need to warn somebody.”

Dustin Summers, the father of Cornett’s three grandchildren, said the kids – six months old, 14 months old and 2 years old – were in a bedroom that lay a hundred yards from the crime scene.

“I was outside in the garage and didn’t even hear anything,” he said.

Richardson said the team typically evaluates the danger of a situation, and, if it “presents some type of immediate danger, that immediate area would be evacuated.” But, this time, the suspect appeared before they could do any of that on Friday.

Croy was in a wooded area along a creek behind the target residence, the sheriff said. The house lay about 50 yards or so from the back of the house.

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