Woman's home damaged during Florence standoff - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Woman's home damaged during Florence standoff

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Florence Police estimate they fired 30 tear gas canisters into the house, through walls and windows. Florence Police estimate they fired 30 tear gas canisters into the house, through walls and windows.
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FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

As Maryann Thompson wove her way through the damage and disarray in her home, she stepped over piles of broken glass and past torn patches of wall and ceiling, venting her ire at police.

"The way they did it wasn't right," she said.  "They didn't have to do all that." 

Thompson's house on Nance Street in Florence became the focus of a police siege Monday when Thompson's boyfriend, Terry Donnel Hankins, holed up in the attic for six hours.

Florence Police estimate they fired 30 tear gas canisters into the house, through walls and windows, as they tried to dislodge him.

"Yeah, there was some damage done to the house," granted Deputy Police Chief Tim Shaddix, "simply to introduce the gas into the house."  

Police were hunting Hankins on domestic violence and robbery charges for allegedly strangling and robbing his stepfather.  On Monday morning, a patrol spotted him and police said he ducked into the house, which his girlfriend rents.

For much of the day, special response teams tried to talk him out, then resorted to the gas to make him "uncomfortable," Shaddix said.

"And I just kept telling them, they didn't have to break all my windows," Thompson complained. "The door was wide open, the screen wide open.  Why are you all breaking my windows? Throw the stuff through the front door, whatever y'all got to throw in there."

Police described the situation as one in which time was on their side but where Hankins required extra effort to reach. 

"Because he was in a loft area or an attic area of the house," said Shaddix, "we shot [tear gas] through the eaves, the overhangs of the house, in order to get it up there."

Hankins eventually surrendered without any further incident.  He has been charged with robbery and domestic violence strangulation, both felonies.

The investigation continues into who will be held responsible for the damage to the house and the tab to repair it.

"If we damage something," said Shaddix, "then, yes, the city's going to stand good for any liability that there may be.  If it finds someone was complicit in the case, then they might could be held responsible as well."  

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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