Man holding hatchet shot in SWAT standoff after dousing hostage in gasoline, GBI says

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — An overnight SWAT standoff in Hall County ended with a suspect shot and facing several criminal charges, according to Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Hall County deputies received a call just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday about a domestic situation at a residence on Lakeview Lane off Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the suspect, Randy Berry, 34, armed with an hatchet and holding a woman hostage inside the residence.

As Berry’s threats escalated and negotiations were failing, SWAT members were called to the scene. Negotiators learned Berry had also armed himself with a torch and poured gasoline on himself, the victim and throughout the home, threatening to set the house on fire.

He also had nailed the front door shut.

Just after 4 a.m., deputies said Berry stopped communicating with authorities, and that was when SWAT commanders authorized the use of force to end the standoff.

Berry was shot in the arm and SWAT members went inside the residence to rescue the hostage.


Investigators said the woman was not physically injured, but she was taken to the hospital for observation.

Berry was taken to the hospital, but has since been released and booked into the Hall County Jail on charges of terroristic threats and false imprisonment, both of which are felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of obstruction and reckless conduct.

Berry’s uncle, Charles Berry, says he believes deputies could have handled the situation differently.

“I know for a fact that they couldn’t have done it with a Taser because of electricity,” Charles Berry told Channel 2′s Larry Spruill. “They have...rubber bullets. They have gas that I know for a fact that if you throw one of them cans in there, you’re going to the ground, and then they could have arrested him properly.”

Other charges are pending as the investigation continues.

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