Citizen asked to step in to help end SWAT standoff

Police in Alpharetta asked a citizen for help resolving a tense standoff with an armed man last Tuesday. SWAT teams were standing by as a man barricaded himself inside his car at a storage unit on Westside Parkway in Alpharetta.

Alpharetta Police say the armed man barricaded inside the car texted his boss Hank Shumate for help. When Shumate arrived, police allowed him to step in.

Officers said his actions helped this standoff ended peacefully.

Shumate’s employee, Jerome Mills, told him to come to the parking lot of Extra Space Storage because he was being held up by police.

“This isn’t good” is what Mills texted Shumate. “All I said back was ‘Not good’,” said Shumate.

Shumate arrived to find Mills' van surrounded by Alpharetta police cars and SWAT vehicles.

Alpharetta police said they spotted a gun and smelled drugs coming from Mills' car. When they asked him to come out, he refused.

“He went from being ready to come out to really, really escalating and not being able to communicate,” said Shumate.

Negotiators weren’t having any luck, so they called in Shumate for help.

“He said during our conversation that the only way he’s gonna get out of this is by force and i knew what that was gonna mean,” Shumate said.

Shumate called Mills on the phone, and the two talked back and forth for about an hour.

Finally, Shumate broke through.

“I got into boss mode and started making demands,” said Shumate. Eventually, Mills exited the car and was peacefully arrested.

Jerome Mills was charged with loitering, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, drug possession and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

Shumate was honored by Alpharetta police with the chief’s coin for his unique role in a peaceful resolution.