4 law enforcement officers injured during standoff in Moulton - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

4 law enforcement officers injured during standoff in Moulton

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Four officers were injured after a police standoff turned violent on Sunday. 

Moulton police said the standoff with Demetrae Griffin lasted more than two hours in Moulton. Officers said the suspect could have a mental health condition, and family members said he was likely on PCP when the altercation happened. 

Police said Griffin was walking along Byler Road when they approached him and that is when he got aggressive with the police officers.

Police said Griffin threw a rock and broke the windshield of a patrol vehicle and also punched officers and deputies. Three of those officers were sent to the emergency room with non-life-threatening injuries.

Lawrence County deputies were then called to the scene for backup.
Law enforcement officers chased Griffin until he ran and locked himself inside one of their patrol vehicles. Officers and the suspect’s family surrounded the vehicle in an attempt to reason with him. 

After family spent a couple hours trying to get him out of the car, he got out holding a knife that officers believe he may have grabbed from the glove compartment of the patrol car, but that is under investigation

Officers used a stun gun on Griffin multiple times. They said instead of knocking him out, he went on to rip the prongs out of his own arms.  

“For the situation at hand, there was several times deadly force could have been used our officers used great restraint by using Tasers and came to a peaceful end. At the very end, it was exactly the way we wanted it,” said Chief Lyndon McWhorter with the Moulton Police Department. 

Formal charges have not been filed as of Monday. Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell said they probably won't be filed until they get a mental evaluation back.

Officers don't yet know whether or not Griffin is mentally stable or if drugs were in his system during the standoff.

Griffin is currently being evaluated at Decatur General, and that can take a few days. Mitchell said until they learn more about that evaluation, it's impossible to predict what's next in this case.

But regardless of whether he goes to jail or to a mental health center next, the sheriff said Griffin is not fit to be released to the public.

"He's safe, we hope, here," Mitchell said. "Much safer than he's going to be on the outside because he's probably going to go out and do it again. Then officers are in danger. He's in danger. Everybody around him is in danger. If the mental folks decide there’s not anything wrong with him, he goes to jail like anyone else and faces charges."

Police body and dash cam video was turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation's investigation.

Mitchell said he believes deadly force would have been justified in his opinion, but his deputies thought the man in the standoff had a mental condition and showed great restraint because of that.

"Officers make a decision on the scene in a matter of split seconds, half-seconds. That the courts may argue about for a year, lawyers will argue about for years, whether or not he did right," Mitchell said. "And the officer has to make the right decision in a split second." 

According to our own news archives, Griffin was the victim of a shooting in 2009, when he was just 17-years-old. At the time, we reported Griffin had just returned from a recruiting trip to Knoxville when he was shot at a party in Caddo.

The suspected gunman was taken into custody, but because he was a juvenile at that time it’s not clear if any charges were ever filed.

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