Traffic at Standstill as Police Confront Armed Man - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/31/06

Traffic at Standstill as Police Confront Armed Man

One of Savannah's busiest intersections ground to a halt yesterday, at one of the busiest times of day, with police and a gunman facing off. A man with a rifle was spotted walking down the road, and when police tried to talk to him at the intersection of White Bluff and DeRenne, he refused to cooperate.

Police say Floyd Goldwire, 64, was mad about his car being towed, so he picked up his rifle and went to retrieve it. But nobody really took notice until he reached White Bluff and DeRenne, during one of the busiest times of the afternoon: 5:45pm.

"It was completely dangerous, not only for police, but all the citizens in the area," said Sgt. Ashley Brown with SCMPD. "The intersection was packed. It was rush hour traffic."

Brown says it was dangerous because Goldwire refused to put down his gun, even after ten officers showed up and drew their guns.

Michael Hampton, the night manager at one of the gas stations there, thought they were going to start shooting. He watched the whole thing go down less than 30 yards away from where he was working. "Basically me and my customers that were in the store decided we were going to hit the floor within 30 seconds if there was shooting," he said.

He says the entire area shut down with people in rush hour traffic craning their necks for a better look. "My whole parking lot was full of people like, 'What was going on?'" Hampton said.

"There were some of them that were quite frightened," said Sgt. Brown. "There were some that were trying to get a better view of what was going on. But traffic was at a standstill."

After a long talk, Goldwire finally put down his rifle, but still scuffled with officers when they went to arrest him. Goldwire's being charged with reckless conduct, obstruction by resisting and simple assault.

Nobody was hurt during the ordeal.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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