Stand Off Ends in Hamblen County

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Morristown (WVLT) - It was a tense situation that could have ended hours ago, but instead a 10-hour standoff in Morristown ends with a veteran in handcuffs.

Authorities in Hamblen County escorted 48-year-old Steve Cox from his home just after eight o'clock Friday evening.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was there when the day-long saga ended.

Officers tried to taze Cox when he pulled a pistol them, but the tazer didn't go off and that set off this day long stand-off.

Tear gas being shot, armed officers and a tank. Not the typical scene on Joe Hall Road in Morristown.

"When you open your door and you walk out and see the SWAT Team and all of the Morristown Police Department you're like what's going on," neighbor Nikki McCamey said.

What went on just yards from Nikki McCamey's front door was a ten hour stand-off, and she and her husband Brad watched it all.

"You never open your door and walk out into something like this---and we walked out into it today," McCamey said.

Around 10:00 Friday morning Hamblen Sheriff's Officers came to serve 48-year-old Steve Cox with a court order health exam. The sheriff's office says his mother ordered it after weeks of concern.

"He thought they were trying to poison him. The mother would bring food in and rather than eat it, he'd knock it in the floor she said," said Chief Deputy Wayne Mize with the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department.

But when deputies opened the door, they say the veteran barricaded himself in the bedroom, then later pulled a pistol on them.

"And one of our officers attempted to Tazer him," Mize said.

But the tazer malfunctioned.

"Anything man-made can go bad this particular cartridge wouldn't fire," Mize said.

Officers retreated, so did Cox again into bedroom. As the stand-off continued, deputies tried to drop a phone and camera inside, but this robot was too short. Eventually they threw it themselves.

"We were able to see exactly what he was doing," Mize said.

Then around 7:00 came the tear gas. Cox stood up to it for an hour.

"It appeared he just had a wet towel--holding it across his face," Mize said.

And around 8:00 officers made their move. Cox, this time tazed successfully, walks out cuffed.

"We couldn't ask for a better conclusion," Mize said.

McCamey's glad the excitement's done.

"You never know what you're going to get when open your door," McCamey said.

A door she says she feels safe behind.

The sheriff's office says Cox isn't a bad guy and don't want to embarrass the family, but it was a bad situation. The sheriff's office says Cox will go to a Morristown-Hamblen hospital for a preliminary evaluation and then probably to the VA Hospital, but not necessarily.

Cox doesn't have a criminal history, but he's now charged with aggravated assault.

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  • by Sadened to Know on Jul 29, 2007 at 06:28 PM
    I am personally acquainted with the suspect and his family and am terribly saddened to hear this news about an otherwise, good man. To echo the thoughts of the previous post, the MPD and Hamblem Co. Sheriff's Dept. both did an outstanding job in bringing this situation to an end without injury or loss of lives. Even the best of equipment can malfunction at the worst of times. To accomplish their mission under these conditions is incredible. I would hope that anyone familiar with this story would keep both Mr. Cox and his family in their prayers -and raise an additional prayer of thanksgiving for a job well done by those who risked their lives -just as they do everyday - for the safety and protection of others.
  • by Concerned Location: Morristown on Jul 21, 2007 at 11:58 AM
    I support the MPD and all officers and the Deputies of the Hamblen Co. Sheriff Dept. A job well done no one hurt, I do wish to comment on the fact that the initial contsct with the suspect did not go will, the equipment did not work and thats a problem, spend some of that money and get the proper equipment and tools so that your officers and deputies are safe and can perform their jobs. (Do not cut corners) Also I would like to give PAT on the BACK to the duputies who although their equipment failed maintained their self control and did not resort to Deadly force (which they could have legally) Thank You again Law Enforcement Community all of you in whatever role you are in for protecting our community


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