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Standoff suspect had received eviction notice

Posted: September 12, 2012 - 1:56pm  |  Updated: September 13, 2012 - 10:10am


A North Augusta man arrested Saturday morning after an eight-hour standoff with police had been served an eviction notice the day before.

According to a North Augusta Public Safety incident report, James Lafayette Cochran, 26, was served an eviction notice from North Augusta Gardens on Thursday. Later that day, the complainant called police and told officers that Cochran was walking in the complex after he was served and “giving her a mean stare”, according to an incident report.

Officers noticed Cochran walking from behind one of the buildings and after he saw an officer, he started to walk back behind the building.

As an officer began speaking with Cochran, another officer saw a long, shiny object in Cochran’s back pocket but couldn’t see the entire object because Cochran was covering it with his shirt.

“Subject has been (known) to carry weapons and at that point, (the officer) drew his duty pistol and ordered the subject to the ground”, the report stated.

The officer who was speaking with Cochran then drew his weapon as well. Cochran asked the officers why the officers were “bothering him” and took a long stick wrapped in aluminum foil from his pocket and laid it down.

The officers put their guns back into their holsters and Cochran was held by both arms as he was searched for weapons. During the search, Cochran began to get angry and tried to pull away, but was placed on the ground by one of the officers as they completed the search for weapons.

Once no weapons were found, officers spoke with Cochran about the incident with the complainant. He told them that he didn’t know her and had not threatened her. He told officers that he hadn’t received a valid eviction notice and “was going to protect his home”. Cochran then stated that “he hated to shoot one of us over someone else’s mistake”, the report stated.

Cochran was told it was best for him to leave the complainant alone and to leave the property.

Around 11 p.m. Friday, officers responded to reports of gunfire at the complex on Hugh Street and found Cochran barricaded in his apartment.

Because there were no open lines of communication into the apartment, the NAPS SWAT Team threw a phone through Cochran’s window, but he did not answer, according to a news release.

Members of the SWAT Team threw tear gas into the apartment and Cochran responded by firing a shot at them. Officers did not fire back.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and SLED’s SWAT Team also responded to assist in apprehending Cochran.

Negotiators continued efforts to contact Cochran for several hours without success. A second round of tear gas was administered but Cochran still did not leave the apartment.

Officers broke into the apartment Saturday morning and found Cochran hiding in the bathroom under wet towels. He surrendered shortly before 7 a.m. on the doorstep of the apartment with a knife and a shotgun in his hands, according to the release.

No one else was inside.

Cochran was charged with five counts of attempted murder to law enforcement officers.

Police are not certain if Cochran’s standoff with police was related to Thursday’s incidents, according to public safety Lt. Tim Thornton.


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