Standoff in Juniper Mountain leads to one fatality; Martingale faces criticism for rising crime rates.

Photo Credit: Derek Johnson

Crazed standoff in Juniper Mountain leads to one fatality. Sheriff faces fire for spiking crime rates.

JUNIPER MOUNTAIN TOWNSHIP – Violence erupted in the small Fox Hollow town of Juniper Mountain Saturday Night as the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office deployed tactical assets to respond to a man with a assault rifle barricaded inside the Four Seasons Total Primscaping company at 209 Bear Valley Road. The situation started when the business owner, Mr. Sean Cody, noticed his alarm had tripped for a possible break-in. Deputies responding suspecting a false-alarm but were met with a deranged man on the top floor with an assault rifle.

Sheriff Ethan Martingale during Saturday night’s press conference.

The sheriff’s office has not released the motives of the man, only that “he was clearly mentally unstable”, Sheriff Ethan Martingale stated in a brief press conference Saturday night. He added “Every peaceful resolution possible was attempted, with deputies in negotiations for over an hour. Only once it was made clear the man was a danger to himself and others was the authorization given to enter the room forcefully.” Sheriff Martingale went on to state that the cause of death is unknown but “[the death] was likely connected to the subject being near the door when it was forcibly breached.” – Martingale stated that the subject had activated a metal door system turning the upstairs room he was holed up in into a “sort of panic room” that required tactical units to utilize explosives to breach it. The cause of death is currently being investigated by the Jasper County Medical Examiner’s Office. Officials have not yet released the subject’s name.

Martingale avoided questions from press about rising crime rates in Jasper County, stating only that “My office is doing everything within it’s power to ensure crime isn’t a every day concern for county citizens.” – However, 2020 remains the highest year ever for crime rates in the city, with 13 criminal homicides this year compared to 4 in 2019 and 5 in 2018. Martingale took office for a second time in July after the resignation of Evelyn Velt which followed a violent shootout at the (then) Harrison Trust Bank in Moonlight Ridge that left a hostage dead and two deputies critically injured, among with a dead suspect. Martingale had originally served as Sheriff from July of 2019 through January, 2020, though crime has been far more of a concern during his second tenure. Other crimes are also facing a stark spike, with car theft alone up 209% from last year.

The property’s owner, Four Seasons Total Primscaping, issued the following statement:

FOUR SEASONS TOTAL PRIMSCAPING
11/28/2020 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Late this evening, staff members at Four Seasons Total Primscaping’s headquarters at 209 Bear Valley Road became aware of a panic alarm activation by our alarm monitoring service. Due to safeguards in place, the staff was required to call local law enforcement for what was believed to be a routine false alarm.

Upon arrival, law enforcement officials discovered an armed subject in our conference room. Law enforcement officials responded with a tactical team and proceeded to negotiate with the subject. Regrettably, law enforcement was forced to breach the building and the subject died in this encounter.

Four Seasons Total Primscaping is working closely law enforcement during this investigation and will conduct a thorough internal investigation into how this incident was able to occur.

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FOX11 news will follow up with this story as more becomes available.

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