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Threats started standoff
May 09, 2005 12:00 am
May 6, 2005
HARTSVILLE — An investigation by the U.S. Secret Service of a man killed here in a standoff with federal and local law enforcement officers Thursday began because he called the federal agency and threatened the White House.
Officers gunned down Jerry Halliburton, 46, of Woodmore Hollow Lane, after he first opened fire on them from his home.
Trousdale County Sheriff's Department Detective David Winnett received three bullet wounds – two to his arm and one to the ear – and was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was released later Thursday night.
Halliburton attracted the attention of the U.S. Secret Service because of some phone calls he made to the federal agency earlier in the day.
Sarah Beth Pulliam, the agent in charge of the Nashville Secret Service office, said Halliburton actually contacted their office.
"He made a threat toward the White House," she said. "At that point we initiated an investigation along with Trousdale County."
The Secret Service takes all threats very seriously, Pulliam said.
"This type of investigation is our highest priority," she said.
While the agency responds to similar threats throughout the nation every day, most are handled quietly, Pulliam said, saying the shootout was "very unfortunate."
Local officers went to Halliburton's home Thursday afternoon, their second visit that day, to have the man committed to a mental institution.
"He's had a history of mental problems," Trousdale County Sheriff Ray Russell said. "We went to serve a warrant to get him committed."
Russell said the man, who suffered from a bipolar disorder, had not been taking his prescribed medication, which contributed to his behavior.
As soon as the officers arrived, Halliburton began yelling threats at them, Russell said.
Officers fired at Halliburton only after he shot several times at them with a rifle and pistol and threatened their lives, Russell said.
"He made threats to our officers, we felt we had to do something," Russell said.
As Winnett took cover from the shots in a shed next to the home, multiple officers opened fire on Halliburton.
"There were a lot of officers shooting to get everyone out of the danger zone," Russell said.
Officials are not yet sure who actually struck the fatal blow to the man, Russell said.
"We sent him for an autopsy, and we'll see what caliber of bullets come out," he said.
Russell said he hated to see the situation end with loss of life, but felt it was necessary.
"It was handled in a professional way," he said.
Hartsville Managing Editor Bracken Mayo can be reached at (615) 374-3556 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.