Man in standoff with deputies allegedly set house on fire
Published 12:33 am Thursday, April 12, 2018
NATCHEZ — Sheriff’s deputies say a man on North Swan Court paced in front of his house Wednesday night with a handgun after lighting his trailer on fire.
Deputies and firefighters responded at approximately 8:55 p.m. to a report of a house fire, but upon arriving at the property could not enter because of the man holding a handgun, said Travis Patten, Adams County sheriff.
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What followed was a standoff between deputies and the man — later identified as Jerry Brown Jr. — who witnesses say threatened deputies with the weapon.
“I heard Little Jerry set his house on fire and I went to go talk him down,” said Lee Ray III, a friend of Brown, as the trailer fire crackled behind him. “He pointed a gun at me and the police told me to get back.”
Ray said he saw Brown point the gun at deputies several times, and that the first deputy on scene tried to talk him into putting the gun on the ground.
As back-up officers arrived on scene and secured a perimeter, Patten said the first deputy on the scene gave verbal commands to Brown to lower the weapon, but he did not comply.
“This is all while his house was burning,” Patten said.
Deputies finally got close to Brown, Patten said, and fired a stun gun to subdue him.
After his arrest, Patten said Brown confessed to pouring gasoline on the trailer and setting the house ablaze.
“He had been working on that house for 7, 8 months,” Ray said. “I don’t know why he’d do that.”
A sheriff’s deputy exited the scene of the incident with the firearm in hand — and an empty bullet clip.
“After retrieving the weapon, officers discovered it was empty,” Patten said. “He wanted us to kill him. He said that. He said he wanted to ‘be with his brother.’”
Patten commended his deputies for patience under extreme pressure, and said he was thankful the situation did not escalate further.
“They chose to save his life and were able to keep themselves and everyone around them safe in the process,” Patten said.
After deputies escorted Brown to the police vehicle — approximately an hour after being called to the scene — firefighters were finally able to approach the house.
Natchez Fire Department Capt. Brad Walker said his firefighters had watched the fire from afar, but had been unable to approach.
“There was no danger of the fire spreading,” Walker said.
The sheriff’s deputies arrested Brown — who has two prior convictions — charged him with convicted felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct.