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Ava Man Charged After Standoff With Officers

Tommy Gunter

On April 16, 2012 Cpl. Brad Loveless and Deputy Nathan Long responded to a residence on K Highway for a man allegedly hold his wife hostage.  While Deputies and Sheriff Degase were en route, dispatch advised 2 neighbors and 2 more family members, who had went to the residence to help the wife, were now being held at gun point as well.

Cpl. Loveless and Deputy Long arrived first on scene where they began speaking with the suspect on the PA system. Deputies were able to get the subject to release the 2 neighbors and 2 family members. The wife was able to hide in the house while the other subjects were leaving however she did not exit the house at that time. The suspect then came to the front door with a weapon in his hand and looked out momentarily then stepped back in the residence. Deputies were able to continue speaking with the subject and surrounded the residence while awaiting the arrival of Sheriff Degase.  Upon Sheriff Degases’ arrival, it was learned the wife was able to exit the residence through a down stairs door and flee the residence.  After continued directives by Deputies the male subject stepped from the residence unarmed and stood on the porch but refused to come off the porch and get on the ground. The subject was approached by Sheriff Degase and Deputies and as they approached, they observed a sawed off shot gun and a pistol strategically placed on some children’s toys in the yard loaded with additional ammunition within feet of where the subject was standing.  Upon making contact with the male subject, he continued to refuse directives by Sheriff Degase and Deputies, and after a brief struggle the subject was taken into custody.

The male subject was later identified as Tommy W. Gunter age 57 of Ava.

Sheriff Degase stated upon searching the residence Deputies located a TV that had been shot with a gun, numerous guns were found strategically placed throughout the residence near windows and doors. There were numerous rifles with “sniper” type scopes on them near the windows that faced the driveway where Cpl. Loveless and Deputy Long were positioned.

Sheriff Degase advised he is very proud of the way Cpl. Loveless and Deputy Long handled the situation. Sheriff Degase stated, “The ONLY reason we were fortunate enough to not have someone injured or killed during this standoff was because of the courage and actions taken by Cpl. Loveless and Deputy Long.”

A warrant was obtained for Mr. Gunter for Domestic Assault 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Unlawful use of a Weapon, and Assault 2nd Degree with the bond set at $75,000.